LONDON – Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, a patent holder and administration group founded by Nathan Myhrvold, a former CTO of Microsoft Corp., has taken action on multiple fronts alleging patent infringement. In semiconductor industry the firm is pursuing two memory chip makers and three FPGA vendors.
Intellectual Ventures (Bellevue, Washington), founded by Myhrvold in 2000, has said it has filed a series of patent infringement complaints in the U.S. District Court of Delaware against companies in the DRAM, flash memory and FPGA industries. At the same time it is also taking on significant players in the software security industry.
In total the company has filed three separate patent infringement complaints against nine companies.
"Over the years, Intellectual Ventures has successfully negotiated license agreements with some of the top technology companies in the world. However, some companies have chosen to ignore our requests for good faith negotiations and discussions," said Melissa Finocchio, chief litigation counsel for Intellectual Ventures, in a statement. "Protecting our invention rights through these actions is the right choice for our investors, inventors and current licensees."
In the DRAM and flash memory sector Intellectual Ventures has filed against Elpida Memory Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. In the FPGA sector IV is pursuing Altera Corp., Lattice Semiconductor Corp. and Microsemi Corp., which recently acquired Actel Corp. and its FPGA business.
Against Elpida and Hynix IV is claiming infringements on seven patents that it owns covering various aspects of memory array design and is claiming triple damages due to the willful nature of the alleged infringements.
Against the FPGA companies Intellectual Ventures is claiming various infringements on a family of five patents that it owns related to detailed workings of programmable logic, FPGAs and the creation of application-specific versions of FPGAs.
In the software security industry Intellectual Ventures is pursuing Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., McAfee Inc., Symantec Corp. and Trend Micro Inc.
I’m wondering how many patents does this firm owns. After many days I’m hearing about another patent infringement. Is it a single technology related to some security algorithm or what is this exactly used in Flash and FPGA’s.
SpaceX is private company and they are planning to successfully use the business opportunity in the space tourism. We will see many such experiments in the future and some day there will be a space tourism program for the people who can afford. Is this what spaceX planning to do?
Patents are personal property, just like a house. The US constitution provides "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The law does not require an inventor to use the invention but it does provide that the patent owner has the right to exclude others from using the claimed invention for the life of the patent. Similarly the law does not require you to live in a house you own but it does provide you with the right to exclude others from using your house. To argue that a patent holder should have no right to exclude others from using the claimed invention is as logical as saying you should not be allowed to have squatters removed from your house. The right to exclude remains whether you chose to use your own property, or give somebody else the right to use your property (e.g. rent it out or license it) or do nothing with your property. Should we let any bum sleep in your house because you are on vacation and the bum is too lazy to get a job?
It is an unfortunate trend in North America that you can make more money suing people than creating new products and services...but it is going to be interesting how this patent battle ends, most cases settle though...Kris
If they have valid patents than so be it, if not then they should be made to pay for the costs of litigation of everyone they go after and lose to. I would think that the effect of legal costs and awards being placed on the loser would deter some of the bad intent type of law suits while not hindering those of real merit. Until and unless the law requires patents to be used in production I am not sure we should be concerned with squatters. Look at Tesla he had developed wireless LONG before Marconi but was beat to the patent office (I understand later, much later the patent office awarded the patents to Tesla). I may not like some or a number of the current rules/regulations of the patent office but it is what we got. Lets get it fixed and move on to a more productive use of company resources (other than lawsuits).
These "Patent Squatters'" patents should become public domain after three years (no extensions allowed,) unless the person or company starts producing TANGIBLE product - either by themselves or through another associate company.
Patents were introduced to protect a MANUFACTURER's ideas from being stolen by THE COMPETITION. - Not to protect squatters and speculators from extorting money from actual, jobs creating, risk taking manufacturers.
Their patents on FPGAs are junk. They contain a combination of obvious claims to an FPGA expert, (but probably not to a plumber you pick on the street), and claims for which there is prior art. They don't stand a chance in my opinion.
However, I am also sure that the purpose for the law suit is just "legal extortion" by which they intend to settle for a dime on the dollar. This sort of thing should be illegal. Better yet, the patent office should be knowledgeable enough not to issue patents for junk.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.