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Microsoft, Sony invest in Intellectual Ventures

Large tech companies, but not Apple, put money in a company some call a ‘patent troll’

Intellectual Ventures (IV) is one of the largest patent holders in the United States. Over the years, it has amassed tens of thousands of patents, which it has used to sue a number of companies for infringement, including Motorola and Bank of America. This type of behavior has led some to dub it a “patent troll.”

On April 11, 2014, Reuters reported that tech giants Microsoft and Sony have invested an undisclosed amount in the company. However, the same report notes that previous investors, Apple and Intel, have declined to invest in this round.

Apple has been involved in a number of patent lawsuits in the past few years, including being targeted by many non-practicing entities. It’s possible that this current climate of litigation has given Apple pause, though the company has yet to comment on its lack of involvement in this round of funding.

The fact that Apple and Intel have declined to invest marks a dramatic departure from the past, as IV previously received support from most large tech companies in the past.

The money from Microsoft and Sony will enable IV to amass even more patents, adding to its storehouse of over 70,000 patents. The funds will bring IV closer to its goal of raising $3 billion in capital, though the amount invested by Microsoft and Sony has not been disclosed.

The new funding for IV comes at a time when Congress is debating patent reform laws that would make it significantly more difficult for non-practicing entities to file a number of patent infringement suits.

 

Further reading:

Will U.S. patent reform take place this spring or continue to be delayed?

Examining proposed legislation to reduce the discovery burden in patent cases

Apple and Samsung head back to court again

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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