Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Microsoft alum has sights on the world's first patent marketplace


Sooner or later, something will have to be done about the barrage of "dumb" patent disputes or technology innovation will eventually grind to a halt. While companies continue to arm themselves with licenses and lawyers, there is at least one start-up with a radical business model poised to capitalize on the messy situation. Intellectual Ventures is Nathan Myhrvold's (Microsoft's former chief technologist) 5-year old private entrepreneurial firm based in Bellevue, Washington, which plans to create or buy new ideas, accumulate patents, and rent them to companies that need them--in essence create a patent marketplace. Newsweek's Brad Stone writes that Myhrvold and his partner have created the "quintessential company for the 21st century that outsources, offshores, and offloads nearly every task performed by regular companies." According to Stone, Myhrvold expects a whole new industry of firms like Intellectual Ventures that deal only in the currency of ideas. Can this be the answer to patent disputes?


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