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.
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Filed Under: patents
Companies: intellectual ventures, transmeta


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  • identicon
    Patent Hoards R Us, 30 Jan 2009 @ 5:02pm

    Let the whining begin

    I look forward to seeing all the patent loving whiners try to defend hoarding with their silly arguments.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Claes, 31 Jan 2009 @ 7:40am

    The first time I read the headline I misread it as "Intellectual Vultures Gets Transmeta Patents". I guess it must have been a freudian slip since it actually wasn't far from the truth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Smith, 31 Jan 2009 @ 4:42pm

    Real problem

    The real problem is not that companies exist which buy and license patents. The real problem is that there are too many garbage patents in the software / digital design space.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mugwumpery.com, 31 Jan 2009 @ 6:45pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2009 @ 8:21pm

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

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

      You mean like Intellectual Ventures ?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    pk, 2 Feb 2009 @ 7:05am

    umm, no one else notice the similarity

    Paying IV to avoid future lawsuits is no different than buying 'protection' from the mafia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    moelarry, 2 Feb 2009 @ 9:02am

    thieves

    but what if the "marketplace winners" were just the biggest thieves?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    moelarry, 2 Feb 2009 @ 9:02am

    thieves

    but what if the "marketplace winners" were just the biggest thieves?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    elduderino, 2 Feb 2009 @ 10:56am

    save our souls

    ... --- ... (thats SOS in morse code for you techies

    it's also a call to anyone who can save us from such legally endorsed idiocy

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    patent leather, 4 Feb 2009 @ 11:04am

    "Intellectual Ventures, whose business model is very troubling to those of us who believe in letting companies actually innovate."

    But if companies are infringing someone else's patents, then they aren't innovating.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just sayin', 24 Mar 2009 @ 10:01pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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