updated 07:35 pm EST, Wed December 8, 2010
Company dismisses "patent troll" label
Patent holder Intellectual Ventures has initiated lawsuits against a long list of tech companies that failed to establish licensing agreements. One of the suits targets security software makers Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and Check Point. A second suit is aimed at memory manufacturers Elpida Memory and Hynix Semiconductor, while a third suit has been filed against component makers Altera, Lattice and Microsemi.
Intellectual Ventures, co-founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, maintains claims of at least 30,000 patents and patent applications, according to a Wall Street Journal report (sub. required). The company fetches nearly $2 billion in licensing revenue, without manufacturing or selling any products.
Although the company remains mostly quiet regarding its backers, investors are said to include tech giants such as Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and Google. Such companies are reportedly protected against lawsuits from Intellectual Ventures, however the precise details of the relationships remain unclear.
Intellectual Ventures chief litigation counsel Melissa Finocchio shrugged off suggestions that her company is a patent troll, claiming the firm "can't control the way people view the company or how they label it." She went on to describe litigation as a "fact of life" in the tech industry, and used as a last resort after lengthy negotiations failed to lead to agreement.