Nathan Myhrvold

Intellectual Ventures has filed suit against AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream Communications, alleging that their DSL Internet services violate some of the tens of thousands of patents in Intellectual Ventures’ portfolio.

The suits, filed last week in federal court in Texas, are the latest in a series of cases brought the Bellevue-based patent holding company and technology development lab, which is run by former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold.

Intellectual Ventures litigation counsel Melissa Finocchio says in a statement, “AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream Communications are infringing IV patents that cover fundamental and important aspects of DSL technology and services.  While our primary objective is to enter license agreements, we will enforce our rights when necessary.”

Here’s a copy of the complaint against AT&T, which cites a number patents related to the underlying technology used in DSL services.

For example, one patent was granted in 2000 for a “Universal access multimedia data network.” That patent is among several in the case that trace their roots to Bell Atlantic, which transferred the patents to its successor, Verizon, according to U.S. patent records. Those patents were assigned to a company called Oversource Co. NY in 2011, and Intellectual Ventures formally took ownership a year ago via merger, the records show.

AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream have not yet responded in court.

Intellectual Ventures separately filed suit against AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile last year, alleging that their wireless technologies infringed a separate set of patents.

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  • Chef Dijor

    More Cookbooks!!!!

  • m62

    Greedy patent trolls.

  • Eelco Hillenius

    And somehow this would foster innovation and benefit consumers? Not.

  • Guest

    As a CenturyLink DSL customer I want to thank Nathan for this bold move that will undoubtedly raise my rates and provide me no discernable benefit at all.

    I didn’t have anyone to be pissed off at today, so I appreciate him stepping in and filling that gap.

    Makes me want to go scan all of that massive cook book and release it on the web so that no one will have to buy it.

  • Aaron Evans

    Forget about prior art. If these patents were valid, they would already be expired.

  • Viet Q. Nguyen

    It’s not like DSL is exactly tomorrow’s technology. These firms have had, what, 15 years of rents off of this product? Anything that sucks the margin out of DSL and forces the providers into better (cheaper, faster) broadband offerings is better in the long run.

  • chris livermore

    We can take comfort in the fact that the revenue generated by this will surely go towards bringing the mosquito shooting laser to the market. What a great way to soil your legacy of innovation, if there ever was any.

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