Nvidia and Intellectual Ventures are funds that buy and sell intellectual property. In the past two weeks, the companies have bought over 500 patents pertaining to 3G and 4G networking. Almost all of these patents were bought straight off of a small company called IPWireless.
The patent market has been incredibly active in the past few months. Google’s $12.5 billion investment in Motorola Mobility has certainly not gone unnoticed, nor has the $1 billion that Microsoft has given AOL for patents. The market has been active in not only buying and selling patents, but lawsuits over them, too; Oracle, Apple, and Samsung have all dived into patent violation lawsuits. That being said, the purchase of so many patents over such a short period of time doesn’t seem out of place in today’s world.
How the patents were bought or what the terms and conditions are hasn’t been disclosed; however, the ownership of the patents will be split by Nvidia and Intellectual Ventures. IPWireless has also retained the rights to have royalty-free access to every patent they sold.
Intellectual Ventures has been around for over a decade and was founded by Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft executive. The company’s patent holdings are both extensive and impressive; however, critics have often dismissed the company as a “patent troll” that only exists to take licensing fees from every other company it can. Intellectual Ventures says its aim is to “protect the industry from costly lawsuits”.