Thursday, September 18, 2008

EETimes focuses on patent buying activities of RPX Corp.

Shortly after the Wall Street Journal did a story on Intellectual Ventures and Nathan Myhrvold, we have a story by Rick Merritt in EETimes amplifying on RPX Corp., a patent acquisition company formed by people FROM Intellectual Ventures, including John Amster. The starting point of the Merritt article is recent funding of RPX with equity investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Charles River Ventures.

However, it does get to the point that Intellectual Ventures is starting to look like a patent troll, an ironic event in that Intellectual Ventures is backed by entities who complain about patent trolls (Nokia Corporation, Intel, Apple Computer Inc., Sony Corporation, and Microsoft). It gets back to the third grade logic: my patent is good, and yours is bad. Merritt said:

A report in the Wall Street Journal suggested Intellectual Ventures is itself becoming troublesome for some large companies because it is demanding increasingly high licensing fees for a growing treasure trove of patents it has acquired.

Of the players, Merritt wrote:

RPX aims to buy as much as $100 million in patents and patent applications in 2008. To date it has spent $30 million acquiring about 100 U.S. patents and 50 patent applications including a portfolio that applies to mobile communications and Internet search and another on RFID and distribution of goods.

"They have important implications for existing and emerging applications that could create problems for a wide range of companies," Amster said.

The startup has been building its staff, hiring Paul Saraceni, an associate general counsel for intellectual property strategy at Yahoo as the startup's Chief IP Officer.

Joe Chernesky, president of IPotential (San Mateo, Calif.), a patent consulting and brokering firm said RPX could do well, in part due to its founders' backgrounds at Intellectual Ventures. "This is one that I think will be interesting to watch," Chernesky said.

Chernesky was less bullish on Allied which he said has struggled to purchase patents in the face of stiff competition from Intellectual Ventures.

"Intellectual Ventures has a huge presence and they have been buying everything up," he said. "They can have an offer on the table within three weeks, and Allied didn't have the procedures in place to do that," he added.


WSJ discusses Intellectual Ventures, Myhrvold


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