Fun Times Ahead with Nathan Myhrvold

Patents: Newsweek: Factory of the Future?:

The dino’s ferociously bared teeth hint at elements of Intellectual Ventures’ bold business plan. Myhrvold and his partner, former Microsoft chief software architect Edward Jung, have created the quintessential company for the 21st century. It doesn’t actually make anything … Only patent attorneys populate the quiet hallways. …

Sources familiar with Myhrvold’s strategy say that he has raised $350 million from some of the largest companies in high tech: Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Nokia and Apple. Google and eBay also recently invested. With this large bankroll, the company is out buying existing patents in droves. (Myhrvold won’t comment on these activities, but sources say he has already purchased about 1,000 patents.) The strategy is to set up a sort of patent marketplace. Patent owners get money upfront for the dusty ideas sitting on their shelves, the investors get the rights to use the ideas without being sued and Myhrvold gets to rent those same ideas to other companies that need them to continue creating products. …

“We’re concerned that these giant pools of patent rights are going to prevent entrepreneurs from entering markets, as opposed to being used to promote innovation,” says one worried Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

Now that’s scary…

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