Many have speculated, ourselves included, about the intentions and financial performance of Nathan Myhrvold's Bellevue intellectual property investment fund/invention lab, called Intellectual Ventures. Now The New York Times has come out with an account including some damning allegations. For one, "Detractors see a cynical operator deploying his bulging patent trove as a powerful bargaining chip, along with the implied threat of costly litigation, to prod high-tech companies to pay him lucrative fees."
"We're just an innocent little start-up with $5 billion to spend."
Let's compare the two accounts...NYT: Intellectual Ventures is buying up ideas and suing anyone who touches them.
Myhrvold: "We have been reviled as a patent troll."
NYT: Intellectual Ventures is big ($5 billion in capital) and secretive.
Myhrvold: We're really just a small, entrepreneurial software company, one that's standing up to big, bad companies like IBM.
NYT: You're actually in bed with Verizon, Intel, Nokia, Sony, and Amazon.
Myhrvold: Our lawyers might've talked with them about certain technologies they're using--technologies we own.
NYT: Intellectual Ventures is rigging the patent-acquisition game by buying them up with over 1,000 shell companies.
Myhrvold: Nonsense. The goal is to "turbocharge technological progress, create many more new businesses, and change the world for the better."
NYT: Intellectual Ventures uses an army of lawyers to intimidate patent users into paying exorbitant patent-use license fees.
Myhrvold: Hey, like I said, we're just another software company.
NYT: "Mr. Myhrvold personifies the term polymath."
Myhrvold: I cannot dispute that assertion.