Nathan Myhrvold

For the second time in the past week, Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures has utilized its arsenal of patents in legal actions against financial services firms.

This time, the patent holding firm is taking on two large banks: JP Morgan Chase and Fifth Third Bank. That followed suits last week against PNC and First National Bank of Omaha.

“We pursued licensing discussions with both companies but when those discussions did not progress, we chose to take steps to stop the unlicensed use of our patents,” the company wrote in a blog post today.

The lawsuits come amid increased scrutiny of patent holding firms, with President Barack Obama today issuing a five-point plan to curb the activities of firms which largely use patents as a weapon.

“Our efforts at patent reform only went about halfway to where we need to go,” President Obama said earlier this year. “What we need to do is pull together additional stakeholders and see if we can build some additional consensus on smarter patent laws.” Among the proposed changes suggested by President Obama are new rules that would make it tougher for patent trolls to hide behind shell companies and more stringent reviews of “overly broad” patents.

According to a report out today, patent trolls were responsible for 2,500 lawsuits last year, about 60 percent of all patent suits.

The lawsuits also come amid a follow-up piece by This American Life on the activities of Intellectual Ventures. The firm — started in 2003 by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold — holds more than 70,000 patents.

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  • SteveB

    Okay, I give. What patent did the banks use that Nathan owns?

    You know Intellectual ventures are reading these comments. They are a leach on society and should be stopped. But is it them or the sue happy attorneys?

    BUT, he is going up against the evil banks! :o) So the banks will call the Fed and the Fed will call the President and the President will call Nathan and say give me “$10m to my campaign and this will go away”.

    • JamieEi

      I’m sure that they are software business method patents, aka complete bullshit.

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