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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’

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