Intellectual Ventures Gets Transmeta Patents

from the patent-hoarding dept

Transmeta, of course, was the massively hyped semiconductor company that was going to revolutionize the computing world with inexpensive microprocessors. Things didn’t exactly work out as planned, as the company never was able to match the hype. By 2006, the company had been reduced to suing for patent infringement, as it no longer was making any products. Basically, it was the classic story we’ve seen over and over again: a company fails in the market place, and then falls back on suing those who actually succeeded. Letting such companies sue seems to go against every concept of free market capitalism. It’s letting the marketplace losers make a claim on the earnings of the marketplace winners.

Still, Transmeta was having some problems with its go-it-alone strategy, so now it comes as little surprise that it’s sold off its patents to Nathan Myhrvold’s patent hoarding monster, Intellectual Ventures, whose business model is very troubling to those of us who believe in letting companies actually innovate. Myhrvold has been squeezing tons of money out of companies to effectively immunize them from future lawsuits from the massive number of patents he’s been acquiring. It’s taking money out of bringing products to market, and giving it to those who have nothing to market. It’s basically a multi-billion dollar example of a patent system gone wrong.

Filed Under:
Companies: intellectual ventures, transmeta

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Intellectual Ventures Gets Transmeta Patents”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
11 Comments
mugwumpery.com says:

Is Intellectual Ventures an opt-out from the patent system?

I don’t know any details about what Myhrvold’s IV is doing, but I wonder if it may in effect be an opt-out from the patent system.

Companies sign up with IV and hand over some of the rights to their patents, plus some cash, in exchange for defensive (only?) use of IV’s extensive patent portfolio.

Not cheap, I’m sure, but this may amount to an opt-out from the patent system – pay in, contribute your patents, and you’re free to innovate without worry of being sued to death. If somebody tries, you threaten to sue them back with IV’s portfolio. It’s Cold War style mutually assured destruction.

Of course, it wouldn’t work against a pure troll with no business of their own.

But maybe this should be viewed as a modest step in the direction of clawing back the right to innovate.

Just sayin' says:

I cant imagine a more pathetic crowd than right here at Techdirt. All you people do is complain about stuff that you don’t really understand like a bunch of arrested development teenagers. Since you have probably never innovated a day in your life (except new ways to convince your mom to let you stay in the basement for another month) how can you be taken seriously?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...