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Intellectual Ventures Settles Lawsuits With Asian Memory Companies

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the take-them-to-court dept.

Patents 30

curtwoodward writes "Intellectual Ventures, the controversial patent middleman company headed by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has settled one of the first lawsuits it ever filed. This legal spat was with two Asian firms: South Korea-based Hynix and Japan-based Elpida. It also involved a complaint to the International Trade Commission, which roped in downstream customers including Dell and H-P because they used components from the two manufacturers. The terms weren't disclosed, but it seems quite likely that Intellectual Ventures was able to get the licensing fees it always wanted: The company's head lawyer is quoted praising the two former adversaries, and explaining once again that the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court."

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Danegeld (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41443159)

You never get rid of the dane.

And... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443305)

The company's head lawyer is quoted praising the two former adversaries, and explaining once again that the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court.

You'll know they have the patent when they sue you.

Re:And... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#41447093)

... explaining once again that the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court...

Translation: ...explaining once again that the company wants you to just give in, bend over, and take your reaming like a man, instead of us having to go through the lengthy, costly process of trying to ream you in court...

Re:And... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41448213)

The company's head lawyer is quoted praising the two former adversaries, and explaining once again that the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court.

You'll know they have the patent when they sue you.

To put this into context [geekwire.com] :

So what somebody says, why don’t you tell me which patents you have, Nathan, so I can avoid them, you’re supposed to be avoiding all of them! You’re saying, Nathan, I’d like to be honest with you but cheat everybody else. What’s up with that?

You read that right. You should be avoiding all the patents without knowing they exist -- and as parent stated, you can find out you violated one when you get sued whether over IV's patents or anybody else's.

Type on summary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41443307)

r/controversial patent middleman/controversial patent troll/g

There - fixed it.

license its patents instead of heading to court (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443355)

"I don't like violence... I'm a businessman; blood is a big expense."

Re:license its patents instead of heading to court (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443517)

Where are mod points when I need them?

Bad time to be a developer. (1)

detain (687995) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443647)

Most any type of hardware or software development these days can only be based upon existing products so its going to become increasingly harder to develop without running into companies that will demand licensing fees.

Mosquito Laser (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41443697)

Until Intellectual Ventures starts selling a real product, such as a Mosquito Laser, they should be banned from patent court.

Re:Mosquito Laser (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443819)

Until Intellectual Ventures starts selling a real product, such as a Mosquito Laser, they should be banned from patent court.

That is the problem. Most companies patent the hell out of everything in case someone like Apple tries to pick em up by the ankles and count the money falling out and they can sue back reducing the fees.

But Intellectual Ventures do not make anything so there is nothing you can do. I mean how is this different than the Gambino crime family barging into your office about a once in a life term insurance program.

Re:Mosquito Laser (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41444137)

Uh huh. Nokia kicked off the patent wars and Motorola sued Apple first. Stop with this stupid revisionist history where all the mobile companies were saints and angels about their patents until Apple came along. You're so fucking full of it.

Re:Mosquito Laser (1)

js33 (1077193) | more than 2 years ago | (#41444915)

Intellectual Ventures is an organized crime network. They take out patents on research from universities, which is done on the public dime, and on the dime of students paying exorbitant tuition, and exploit it for their own profit in secret, back-room deals with university officials. It has very little to do with intellectual property; it's just another scam. One day, they'll get too bold, and the FBI will haul them in for something or other, and there will be a brief mention in the back page of the newspaper of an obscure Ponzi scheme nobody ever heard of that went belly-up, and none of the "investors" will ever raise a peep. After all, the "investors" were never in it for anything but "protection" which they won't need once the entity goes belly-up. Because that's all it really is: a protection racket.

Re:Mosquito Laser (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41448101)

Patents are supposed to be non-obvious. What happens when you come up with a non-obvious way to make a low energy transistor, which is cheaper than current process, but costs multi-hundred-millions to get started up?

Re:Mosquito Laser (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#41452471)

You'll get sued by every two bit 'patent holder' on the planet who ever scribbled on a napkin. You'll watch in horror as the piranha nibble your cash cow to the bone after letting you do all the hard work raising it.

Re:Mosquito Laser (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41455125)

Well no the problem is the guy who comes up with how to make a transistor that lets unmodified x86 run at 17.6 watts instead of 176 watts (yeah some of those Pentium 4 designs used to run at 180W TDP...) without squeezing down a tiny, tiny process doesn't have the ability to raise a fab to actually do it. He can tell Intel how to do it, but why would they give him shit? Just start making chips and run away with the cash.

This is what patents are for. Sometimes you can't build the shit you invented unless you're already rich.

Re:Mosquito Laser (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#41456917)

If the little guy has it and Intel wants it, he's screwed. They can afford to drop a few million in legal fees without even noticing.

Re:Mosquito Laser (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41462379)

And that's the other half of the patent system that needs to be fixed!

license 1st (1)

pinfall (2430412) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443737)

Brilliant, you can now make boatloads more claiming rights than those properties could ever earn.

why risk court? (2)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443747)

...the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court.

Obviously. Who would voluntarily want to put the fate of their enterprise in the hands of 12 people who couldn't think of a valid excuse of how to get out of (civil) jury duty?

Of course you might think that mediation and arbitration would solve this problem, but if one of the sides has a little to lose, and much to gain, they often will gamble their chances with the jury trial. As a classic example, Apple vs Samsung: a billion dollars to each side is merely pocket change, not much to lose for either one. On the flip side, a couple of bankrupt memory chip companies might need to some stability and predicability just to survive. A patent troll, however, doesn't want their patents accidentally invalidated, so gambling isn't the prefered way to do business...

Re:why risk court? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#41445311)

...the company wants to license its patents instead of heading to court.

Obviously. Who would voluntarily want to put the fate of their enterprise in the hands of 12 people who couldn't think of a valid excuse of how to get out of (civil) jury duty?

Of course you might think that mediation and arbitration would solve this problem, but if one of the sides has a little to lose, and much to gain, they often will gamble their chances with the jury trial. As a classic example, Apple vs Samsung: a billion dollars to each side is merely pocket change, not much to lose for either one. On the flip side, a couple of bankrupt memory chip companies might need to some stability and predicability just to survive. A patent troll, however, doesn't want their patents accidentally invalidated, so gambling isn't the prefered way to do business...

Not just that, but frequently egos get involved, too. Some people would rather spend a quarter million or more fighting a patent owner who claims they're infringing, than spend a few thousand for a license. Oddly, it's usually the smaller companies who don't have the money to spend on a suit who would rather fight and go into bankruptcy, while the larger companies will make the objective economic decision to negotiate a license. It's particularly sad with trolls, because frequently they just want to show that they have licensees so they can go after deep-pocket companies, so they'd be happy with a very, very cheap license for a small company.

Disclaimer: I am a patent attorney. I am not your patent attorney, and this isn't legal advice. This post is purely for (my) amusement purposes only.

Re:why risk court? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41448241)

Obviously. Who would voluntarily want to put the fate of their enterprise in the hands of 12 people who couldn't think of a valid excuse of how to get out of (civil) jury duty?

This argument is one that I always find irritating. You don't have a lot of duties as a citizen of the US: pay taxes, serve as a witness if called upon, and serve on a jury if called upon. Not wanting to take the time out of your life - the handful of times you might ever be asked to do it - to perform that duty doesn't trump the obligation.

Time to stock up on ram (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41443779)

It is about to go sky high to pay for these assholes

Re:Time to stock up on ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41444169)

Doubtful. Even if the settlement was a few billion (which is highly doubtful) at the volumes being shipped it would be pennies per GB.

Re:Time to stock up on ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41444829)

That won't stop them from trying to milk the situation.

I hope Nathan M. gets terminal cancer soon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41444549)

No, I am not joking.

This explains the downfall of Microsoft (1)

Kyusaku Natsume (1098) | more than 2 years ago | (#41445103)

With men like Ballmer and Myhrvold at helm, only the previous enormous size of the company is what keeps it relevant and not becoming another RIM or Sun.

Bummer. Now they are free to sue HP, Dell etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41446703)

Now that their patents have been 'proved' (not in court but by the settlement) IV will be free to sue all the customers of Hynix and Elpida for similar patent violations. We know that this includes HP & Dell but I have seen Hynix memory chips in Oracle (nee Sun) kit. I wonder if IBM will be in their sights as well.

This is just the start of a long war. Double dipping for license revenue is the norm nowadays.

What IV actually is (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#41447585)

What do you call someone who wants to extort money from you for doing nothing? Well, at least if it's not a government?

Mafia Style "Capitiaism" (2)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#41447867)

Extortion is always extortion, even if you call it patent fees.

Parasites can destroy a system, whether it be an economy or an organism. We live in an era of massive institutionalized corruption.

Re:Mafia Style "Capitiaism" (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41448113)

Why are there fees for Asian memory? I thought that was genetic and non-patentable.
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