updated 09:50 am EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
Microsoft, Sony agree to providing more cash for patent buys
Two previous investment partners, Apple and Intel, have declined to put money into Intellectual Ventures' latest patent acquisition fund, says Reuters. IV is dedicated exclusively to buying intellectual property, and has so far acquired about 70,000 patents and other forms of IP. It has raised about $6 billion from investment partners in the past, but is looking to pick up another $3 billion. Microsoft and Sony have agreed to participate in the new round of funding.
Why Apple and Intel declined to invest is unstated. On a simple level, they might not feel that they're getting a good return. The high-tech industry in general, though, has turned against IP holding firms, a number of which have sued companies like Apple despite not practicing the patents they own.
Both Microsoft and Apple are nevertheless among a list of seven corporations that last week declared their opposition to provisions in a US House of Representatives bill -- voted in, but now pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee -- designed to make it easier for winners in patent cases to recover legal fees, mainly as a deterrent against frivolous lawsuits. Parties upset with the bill say it could actually weaken the patent system and hurt their business; but other regular lawsuit targets, such as Google, are in support. Google participated in IV's first fund in 2003, but has since held off, and is in fact still dealing with an IV lawsuit against its Motorola unit, filed in 2011.