"Nathan Myhrvold wants to shake up the marketplace for ideas.
His mission and the activities of the company he heads,
Intellectual Ventures, a secretive $5 billion investment firm that
has scooped up 30,000 patents, inspire admiration and angst.
"Admirers of Mr. Myhrvold, the scientist who led
Microsoft’s technology development in the 1990s, see an
innovator seeking to elevate the economic role and financial
rewards for inventors whose patented ideas are often used without
compensation by big technology companies. His detractors see a
cynical operator deploying his bulging patent trove as a powerful
bargaining chip, along with the implied threat of costly
litigation, to prod high-tech companies to pay him lucrative fees.
They call his company “Intellectual Vultures.”
"White hat or black hat, Intellectual Ventures is growing
rapidly and becoming a major force in the marketplace for
intellectual capital. Its rise comes as Congress is considering
legislation, championed by large technology companies, that would
make it more difficult for patent holders to win large damage
awards in court — changes that Mr. Myhrvold has opposed in
Congressional testimony and that his company has lobbied
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