Intellectual Ventures, a controversial investment firm run by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold, is buying up patents and milking them — and is reportedly raising as much as $1 billion more to extend its portfolio.
We mentioned this last week, noting that some critics say the firm is a patent troll, doing nothing more than leaching on others’ innovations, sucking up patent licensing fees. But other aspects of the WSJ story are worth nothing: Universities such as Stanford and MIT aren’t working with the firm because they worry all it wants to do is license inventions by their students and professors to use it for litigation, not innovation. Mr. Myhrvold, for his part, says his goal is to create a more liquid market for intellectual property.
So the firm tells the WSJ it is headed to Asia, to work with universities there. The WSJ provides some notable stats. The firm employs about 200 people. It has bought thousands of patents and has licensing revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars last year.
“We want to work with companies that are really going to develop the technology, and I’m not sure if they will or not,” said Katharine Ku, who heads Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing. “They keep saying they’re not a litigation play necessarily, but we’ll just see.”
Many other U.S. universities have chosen to work with the firm.