Nathan Myhrvold

Intellectual Ventures this morning announced legal settlements with two companies, SK hynix and Elpida Memory, which make common types of memory used in computers and gadgets. The deals are the first major legal settlements for the Bellevue-based company, resolving three of its nine legal actions to date.

As a result of the settlements, Intellectual Ventures said it would also be dropping its related claims against both companies’ customers. Those include computer and retailing giants Dell, HP, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others who make and sell products that use memory developed by the companies.

SK hynix of South Korea and Elpida Memory of Japan both licensed Intellectual Ventures’ patents as part of the settlement, according to spokesman for the company.

Intellectual Ventures, led by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, says nearly all of the world’s major memory companies have now licensed its patent portfolio.

Melissa Finocchio, Intellectual Ventures’ vice president and chief litigation counsel, writes in a blog post, “After 20 months of hard-fought litigation with these two formidable and sophisticated companies, we successfully reached settlement agreements with both, and now we’re in the process of dismissing all three actions against them.”

She adds, “As much as we prefer to focus on investing in invention, occasionally we need to turn our attention to protecting those investments by enforcing our invention rights. We’ll continue litigating when we need to, but we always prefer to do deals across a conference room table and with a handshake.”

Intellectual Ventures has become a lightening rod for criticism of technology patents, coming under fire for wielding its large patent portfolio.

Previously: A feisty Nathan Myhrvold defends his quest for ‘Global Good’

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


  • JackD

    Such great news I know this will give IV more time to work on those mosquito killing lasers.

  • Elbowman

    Kind of the Microsoft way isn’t it…If you can’t beat them in the marketplace sue them until the give up. It’s cheaper to buy a lawyer than create a good product.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to IV on a couple of big infusions! This is great news for those of us like myself who hate global warming and who trust in IV’s scientists to cure it.

  • Guest

    Patent Troll Scumbags.

  • Guest III

    If Nathan wants to be taken seriously please reveal the percentage of revenue derived from “licensing” vs. the percent generated from actual product sales. Products are what you get after you invent, build, and then sell something, the last two being expensive and very hard to do successfully.
    I’m willing to bet that ratio is very, very one sided and I really wish a journalist would ask.

Job Listings on GeekWork