Dell, HP, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others have been sued by Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue-based company run by former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold, as part of a broader patent dispute with two makers of common types of memory used in computers and gadgets.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in Seattle, targets Hynix Semiconductor of Korea and Elpida Memory of Japan — saying that the makers of DRAM and Flash memory have declined repeated efforts by Intellectual Ventures to license its patents in those markets.

Major PC and gadget manufacturers and tech retailers are named as defendants for their use or sale of products from Hynix and Elpida. Others include Asus, Acer, Kingston and Logitech. Read the full complaint here: PDF, 18 pages.

The complaint includes an extended introduction that appears designed to deflect assertions that Intellectual Ventures is a patent troll, a company that merely acquires and holds patents for the sole purpose of extracting licensing fees.

It acknowledges that Intellectual Ventures has purchased more than 30,000 intellectual property assets — and earned nearly $2 billion from in licensing fees — but also notes that IV also comes up with inventions of its own, through “a staff of scientists and engineers who develop ideas in a broad range of fields, including agriculture, computer hardware, life sciences, medical devices, semiconductors, and software.”

Intellectual Ventures filed patent suits last year against Symantec, Trend Micro and other companies involved in the security software business. The company has also announced a series of patent licensing deals over the past year, with major technology players including HTC, Samsung and RIM.

Several of the patents cited in the latest suit were acquired by an Intellectual Ventures affiliate last year from Cirrus Logic Inc. of Austin, Texas, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records.

Here’s a rundown …

5,654,932: Memory devices with selectable access type and methods using the same
5,963,481Embedded enhanced DRAM, and associated method
5,982,696: Memories with programmable address decoding and systems and methods using the same
5,500,819: Circuits, systems and methods for improving page accesses and block transfers …
5,687,132Multiple-bank memory architecture and systems and methods using the same

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    That’s what you people get for booing Nate’s TED talk. Were you nice, you would be treated nicely.

  • Guest

    The great taxer of innovation rears its head. I’m ashamed to have this company in our backyard, especially when they could be doing good in the world by actually innovating if they didn’t have Gordan Geko as CEO.

  • Joe the coder

    I love the comment “but also notes that IV also comes up with inventions of its own, through “a staff of scientists and engineers…”.  I’m sure there are lots of companies infringing on that weather modification thingy.  

    Yeah, and how many of those in house inventions is IV suing companies over?  Hint – the number is an additive identity.

  • Guest

    I am the only one wondering why Apple isn’t listed?

    • Response

      Apple, Microsoft and some others were early investors in IV’s funds. I expect they invested based on an agreement not to sue them.

Job Listings on GeekWork