Apple will no longer invest in patent troll Intellectual Ventures

By , Apr 11, 2014

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Apple has chosen to pass on the opportunity to pour fresh money into Intellectual Ventures, a patent buying and assertion company founded and led by its chief executive officer Nathan Myhrvold. Following in Apple’s footsteps, chip giant Intel has distanced itself too from the controversial patent holding firm and declined further investment

Intellectual Ventures was one of the top-five owners of U.S. patents in 2011. The patent assertion entity, however, has managed to persuade the Japanese consumer electronics maker Sony and the Windows maker Microsoft to invest in its latest acquisition fund, a move that will create a fresh war chest for Intellectual Ventures to buy new patents…

Intellectual Ventures is seeking to raise an additional $3 billion, on top of the $6 billion it’s raised since 2000. Reuters observes that it’s unclear whether Intel and Apple could still opt to invest in the firm at a later time.

Intellectual Ventures exists to buy patents on the behalf of its investors for the purpose of asserting them against other companies. Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Intel all previously invested in Intellectual Ventures’s funds.

In December 2012, Intellectual Ventures bought more than 1,100 imaging patents by Kodak. Both Apple and Microsoft had teamed up with Intellectual Ventures at the time in order to obtain Kodak’s intellectual property concerning digital imaging.

Intellectual Ventures currently owns about 70,000 patents.

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Apple is patent trolls’ favorite target: just in the past three years alone the company was sued 92 times by the entities whose sole purpose is to assert patents against rich companies rather than create and sell actual products.

Apple, Google, Samsung and others now lead the effort to curb patent trolling.

Earlier in the year, nearly 20 technology companies have asked the United States Supreme Court to allow stiffer penalties for patent trolls who bring frivolous lawsuits against them. Patent trolls cost Apple and other Silicon Valley giants tons of time and money as frivolous lawsuits spread their resources thin.

Tech companies also demanded that EU judges introduce anti-trolling changes into Unified Patent Court and the upcoming European Unitary Patent system.

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  • David Gitman

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  • Sandy Cook

    Apple doesn’t need someone else to do their patent trolling for them