It’s usually Motorola Mobility which takes companies to court over IP infringements, but the tables were turned this week at the Delaware federal court with Intellectual Ventures flexing its muscles.
Intellectual Ventures is a patent portfolio company founded by former Microsoft CTO and occasional chef Nathan Myhrvold, author of a £300 cookery book.
The company alleges that Motorola has infringed two patents it holds: (5,790,793) “Method and System To Create, Transmit, Receive and Process Information, Including An Address To Further Information,” and (7,136,392) “System and Method For Ordering Data Messages Having Differing Levels of Priority For Transmission Over A Shared Communication Channel."
The case has been rumbling on since 2011, and Motorola has in the meantime been bought by Google, stripped of a good proportion of its patent portfolio, and sold to Lenovo. Oh yes, and Google is an investor in Intellectual Ventures.
Motorola denies the allegations.
It’s unusual for the patent company to take things as far as the courtroom, as it has a business model based around licensing rather than litigation, and has amassed over 35,000 patents.
It generates IP through its own lab where it claims “our 54,000 square feet of workspace includes dedicated photonics, nanotechnology, electronics, environmental testing, metallurgical analysis, physics, chemistry and biology labs”.
However, the core is in licensing and this hasn't been doing so well recently. Last year, the company laid off 20 per cent of its staff. ®