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CTO: Article

Former Microsoft CTO: "Intellectual Property is the Next Software"

Warning: This News Will Upset the Patent Adverse

Nathan Myhrvold, who used to be Microsoft's CTO and chief strategist, and Edward Jung, who used to be Microsoft's chief architect and advisor to the executive staff, have been building a patent factory since they left.

It's called Intellectual Ventures LLC and it's buying up patents. Supposedly it's bought a thousand so far.

It's also rounded up what it describes as a "world-class team of physicists, engineers and biotechnologists" and set them to dreaming up ideas to patent.

The spread runs to lasers, semiconductors, electronic widgets, consumer products, software, e-commerce, communications, medical devices, computer architecture and molecular algorithms not to mention nanotechnology, biotechnology and bioinformatics.

They've been at it since 2000 and according to the Patent and Trademark Office the company has socked away a small cache of patents in its own name.

According to Newsday, which seems to have penetrated Myhrvold's outer perimeter, Intellectual Ventures has collected a $350 million war chest from Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Nokia, Apple, Google and eBay.

The way the scheme apparently works these guys get to use the IP without getting sued and Myhrvold gets to re-license it to other companies. Or, he could build companies around the IP. Or, he could litigate everyone to death.

According to Myhrvold, who's now studying for the patent bar exam, "Intellectual property is the next software."

The company says to just send your patent numbers to [email protected]. Apparently they'll get back to you.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
John Bulsterbaum 11/24/04 11:42:09 PM EST

Also, uncover what? WOW, JOURNALISTS ARE HEROES, WHO AREN'T TRYING TO STIR UP ANGER JUST TO GET AN AUDIENCE AND INCREASE THEIR "credibility." There's very little to uncover, so what if they dreaming up ideas and protecting them? I don't know all the specifics and won't pretend to, but what the problem?

xx 11/24/04 01:42:59 PM EST

This article only underscores what many of us at certain universities already know from people with "inside information", including some journalists who have been conducting investigations: namely, that Nathan Myhrvold (although perhaps one of the few non-villains out there), is part of a conspiracy to suppress the truth and to revise history to the benefit of those who committed intellectual property theft, and made millions as a result.

Do a Google news search on keyword "eolas".

What you will find at the top of the search results is a blog story by a lawyer who uncovered highly significant information regarding a law suit that Nathan Myhrvold, in the news article entitled "Factory of the Future" (listed maybe 5 or 6 down in the Google news search) mentions as one of the goals of his patent hoarding operation. As that news article words it:

"By buying all these patents, Intellectual Ventures ensures they cannot be used against its investors by gadflies like Eolas."

So, any logical & analytrical mind must ask whether Nathan knows about the citation mentioned above his in the Google search?

Those of us who have investigated this, have seen evidence that not only does Nathan know but....I probably cannot say in a forum such as this.

But Nathan knows. Bill Gates himself knows. Tim Berners-Lee knows. The question should be: Why the silence and coverup? Answer that question and you will discover the reality behind patents and inventing and not only business mentality, but the vain world of the macho male egos who all want to be, as they seem to love to say, "the one in control".

If Nathan Myhvold were true scientist, which is what he likes to be seen as, he would know that the a core tenet of the "scientific method" is placing all facts before one's peers (and in today's environment, that includes the global public as well) for open inspection. But Nathan is not a villain, just a man caught between a billionaire with "questionable methods", peers who have little to no inventive capability who have been portrayed as inventors and who must therefore act in ways to perpetuate the myth, and lawyers whose only concern is in scheming to make money with the logic that "if we get caught they can't take it all away from us anyway, so why not".

But then, universities and journalists have always been sources of discovery and revelations. Often to the dislike of those who wish to preserve the status quo. Even when that status quo is nothing more than a state of mind: called the truth. It appears that once again, that is about to be proven true.

Another Myhrvold Triumph 11/21/04 05:03:01 AM EST

Interesting coinidence: Nathan Myhrvold was chosen Tuesday to be the recipient one of Princeton's most prestigious alumni awards for 2005.