Bill Gates' New Career? Patent Troll For Nathan Myhrvold?

from the kinder-capitalism? dept

Plenty of folks have been wondering just what Bill Gates is up to now that he’s left his full-time position at Microsoft. Longtime rabble-rouser theodp has alerted us to one thing that Bill Gates is spending at least some of his time on: a bunch of patent applications for a company named “Searete LLC” — including this one for rewarding influencers and another for a method to inject fluids into animals.

So, what’s Searete? Well, it appears (warning: pdf file) that it’s one of the many ultra secret shell front companies for Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures, a company that unabashedly plans to be a huge patent tollbooth on just about any kind of innovation. We’ve already noted that he’s been setting up shell companies as part of the operation’s secrecy.

In some articles about Myhrvold’s methods, it talks about how he hosts these big dinners, where he invites a bunch of big thinkers to sit around and talk, has some lawyers sit off to the side writing down everything they say, and then turns the discussions into patents. My guess is that these Bill Gates Searete patents fall into that camp (some of the other big names on some of the patents are folks like Danny Hillis and Craig Mundie, and we’re waiting for Seinfeld’s name to show up on a patent for computers that are moist and chewy like cake). Still, it makes you wonder why Bill Gates is letting Nathan Myhrvold lock up his ideas as part of his patent extortion scheme.

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Companies: intellectual ventures, searete

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Comments on “Bill Gates' New Career? Patent Troll For Nathan Myhrvold?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The could solve about 90% of the abuse of the patent system by enacting a few small changes:

1. Revoke all software and business process patents (partly underway but likely to take years of appeal)
2. Require all patent petitioners to provide a working model of the invention – something the patent office should never have suspended. This would quash all these ‘concept’ filings that patent the idea for an invention rather than an actual working invention.
3. Shorten the life of any patent (say 5-8 years) if it isn’t actively used in the market.
4. Drastically curtail the ability to amend patents and do not allow those amendments to expend the life of the original patent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Many users can’t tell the difference between a web browser, file browser and their desktop. They wouldn’t know what an OS was unless you explained it to them. To them Ubuntu would look “funny” and they wouldn’t want it. These same people won’t update their software, are plagued by trojans, fragmented drives and usually reformat their drives rather than try to fix the problem.
Back on topic, Bill’s a weenie! 😛

Robert Z. Cashman (user link) says:

Demonize the patent system, not those using it in a way you don't approve.

It’s interesting to me that your first impression is to assume that Bill Gates is up to no good by participating in new patents. Remember, you’re living every day with many inventions that he either created, inspired, paid for, or brought to the public. There’s no reason to jump to the conclusion that he or Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures have any intention other than to work a profitable business model where patents are bought, licensed, and sold on the market as if they are a commodity.

There is nothing wrong with creating a shell company, nor is it wrong to keep that company “ultra secret” as you have described it as being. This is simply smart business sense.

If your argument is that their business model stifles creativity and goes against the purpose of the U.S. patent system, then your issue is not with them, but with the patent laws. If that is the case, then you should be one of the speakers in favor of patent reform and should be writing letters to your legislators to get this done, or not.

Demonizing people who are doing what you could do too is not the approach to solving issues with the patent system.

Peter Suavez says:

Re: Demonize the patent system, not those using it in a way you don't approve.

“Demonizing people who are doing what you could do too is not the approach to solving issues with the patent system.”

Couldn’t it be said that by exposing how this system works / is being exploited to the public, more interest and awareness will be raised and more people might do exactly what you would prefer the action to be?

“There is nothing wrong with creating a shell company, nor is it wrong to keep that company “ultra secret” as you have described it as being. This is simply smart business sense.”

There is nothing wrong with it, no. Nor is there anything wrong with saying that it’s wrong. Right?

“[..] then you should be one of the speakers in favor of patent reform and should be writing letters to your legislators to get this done, or not.”

Or you post it on a website and listen to what other people think. Hell, you might even inspire a few to write to their legislators.

Robert Z. Cashman says:

Re: Re: Demonize the patent system, not those using it in a way you don't approve.


I agree that forums such as these are good for voicing concerns about those who are benefiting from the patent law system in its present form. However, it does nobody any good until someone on the federal level *who has legislative power* gets interested in the subject matter and takes action on it. My experience is that this almost never happens until people like YOU, ME, and OTHERS start writing letters, sending e-mails, and making phone calls.

Those in power need to be EDUCATED on the issues we are discussing on this mini-forum, but they will likely not come to you or read this article and its many comments. HENCE, WE NEED TO BE PROACTIVE AND DO SOMETHING about issues we see that affect the integrity of our patent system.

Someone below referred to me as a “self-labeled troll.” I find that comment to be slightly ignorant. Rather, I’m an activist and I prefer to fix the problems at its source rather than fighting those who have figured out a way to benefit from the system as it is. While I am very against those who abuse the system with frivolous law suits, patent assertions, and litigation tactics, ESPECIALLY from NPEs (non-practicing entities), ***always remember that there would be no such thing as a patent troll if companies would be fair about taking licenses from little guys (individual inventors and/or small companies who cannot afford the patent enforcement process.)***

My opinion is that there should be stronger patent protection for inventors so that there would be no incentive to sell to a troll for pennies on the dollar.

As for the topic of NPEs, I don’t quite have a solution, nor do I know what to do about them, but I do see it as being an issue.

Robert Z. Cashman says:

Re: Self-labled troll?

Anon, I hear your opinion and I have been quite active in writing our government regarding changes that need to be done in the patent system. You are right that there is definitely a problem, but the issue is not those exploiting the system, but it is the system itself that allows exploitation.

Fighting one group of people doesn’t stop the next set of individuals from doing the same thing, or even worse. If you ask me, I have more of an issue with those individuals who waste the court’s time in frivilous lawsuits by those who assert patents they did not invent.

bob dagit says:

marx quote

marx was often quoted to stir up discontent among professionals against the money capitalists like this:
the money capitalist reaps the fruits of the labors of the universal human spirit (essentially knowledge and scientific discovery), and the trailblazers (the scientists that did the work) generally go bankrupt.

nowadays that is complicated by the natiional security state and tech transfer.

innovator says:

rich blind eccentrik arrogance

Look; Gates and Myrvold, claim to be out to implement innovation for issues that help the masses.

I would point out one simple fact about Bill Gates new engine patent that uses magnets. It still uses fuel combustion. As I recall, last year a NASA scientis; James Hansen stated we have less than two decades to contain and reduce our dependancy on oil or else we are going to face mass extinction-

I submitted a fresh patent of my own, to Myrvold and IV and to the Bill Gates foundation- my technology is very feasible, via magnets and lightweight materials. Produces ZERO emmissions and can extend runtime for transportation bewtween charges significantly. Also, this technology can be used in wind generation to increase captured electricity at slower rpms.

But they told me my stuff is not a breakthru- cheap stealy comment.

Guess what about the breakthru stuff? Last year MIT published the fact they have improved upon a existing technology, Lithium Ion. Lithium Ion has been around for decades, but MIT improved upon it.

Thats great. But is MIT being told they are not a breakthru? of course not.

Look, at this time, Bills wonderful engine is still using fuel combustion- if the environment and getting off oil were a two part equation, it could be compared to a cement wall, 10ft thick with reinforced steel.

Things like checking air pressure in your tires and car pooling are as weak as trying to break thru the wall with a toothpick.

My technology is a jack hammer and a cutting torch.

Per James Hansen… we clearly need to get off fuel combustion- and at this point in time, any and every cleantech that goes in that direction should be getting funded even if remotely feasible.

My technology has been proven very feasible with a workbench model.

But alas, the rich eccentrick all knowing idiots are basically saying; “We want to save humanity, but so long as it fits our preferences… otherwise, humanity isnt in our saving humanity doesnt have a market-

Bill Gates and his new engine. Its like trying to use 8-track tapes with a dvd… whats the point?

Ah, I bet I know… Bill last year too, went to canada about drilling mroe oil on canadian soil.


Iordan Stavar (user link) says:

Two Romanian independent inventors fight with Bill Gates for Electromagnetic Engine


EUROPEAN CHAMBER of COMMERCE, INDUSTRY and FRANCHISE CECIF, together with the ROMANIAN FRANCHISE ASSOCIATION support and present the following potential solutions for the energetic crisis posted on, or :


The invention is referring to an engine which uses for starting the engine
device the rejection force between two electromagnets or between an
electromagnet and a permanent magnet, with 0 fuel consumption.

The invention presents the following advantage:

– electromagnetic motor can be coupled to an electric generator to produce electricity or other mechanical work.
– implementation of an engine with big efficiency
– implementation of an engine without pollutant emissions
– low costs of implementation
– easy maintenance
– noise reduced during working
– secondary modifications of the existent manufacturing lines.

From the capacity 2000 cmc the speed is 500 km/h and 0 consumption
FUEL price of motor construction is : 3000 – 4000 EURO.


The invention is referring to a device which uses floats for working a
fluid engine used for driving ships, for generating power, for driving the
water pumps or for any field in which is necessary to use mechanical work.

The invention presents the following advantages:

– the device can be used in any lake or hydro facilities even by reduced areas
– generating power which can be carried in the national power systems
– generating and using mechanical work of considerable measure
– from the structural point of view is easy to accomplish and to maintain
– the power generated is very cheap because of the low costs of making it

Economical parameters: a marine device costs 100,000.00 euros and the
installed power is 2Mw/h. The estimated duration to amortize the costs: 3


The invention refers to a mechanism that uses the vehicles engaged in
traffic to start an engine used to obtain electricity, start the water
pumps or any other domain where is necessary the use of a mechanical work.


– the device may be used on roads and also on the railway
– the obtaining of electricity that may be sent in the energetic
national system
– minimum disturbance of the vehicles engaged in traffic
– the obtaining and use of mechanical work with considerable size
– from the constructive point of view is easy to realize and maintain
– there may be put in series a big number of mechanisms for the
training of the same flyer
– there may be used more installations which will discharge in the
same tank in the case of its use
– the obtained energy is very cheap, the costs of realization of the
mechanism being very small
– increased capacity of overtake and attenuation of the shocks owed to
acceleration and breaking on the contact surface
– the possibility of the dimensioning of the installation depending
on the installed power that we want

Economical parameters: the device cost is around 80,000.00 euros and the
installed power is 1Mw/h for a 10 vehicle/minut traffic. The estimated
amortization duration: 6 months.

and :

– SHOE WITH GOLDEN SOLE by Iordan Stavar & Ioan Micu D.Sc. – Application number US 12/ 230, 957

– ANTI STRESS WATCH by Iordan Stavar & Ioan Micu D.Sc. – Application number US 12/230,956

You can see CV of Ioan Micu D. Sc. my co-worker on link : and

CV is posted on, or to section Famous inventors..

For details and information send an email at or

Anton Constantin Iordan Stavar
President Independent inventor
Romanian Franchise Association

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