Nvidia, Intellectual Ventures scarf up wireless patents

The two will split ownership of the patents, which focus on LTE, 3G, and 4G. Nvidia will license whatever patents it didn't acquire, while IPWireless gets royalty-free access to the patents.

Nvidia and Intellectual Ventures, a fund that acquires intellectual property, have bought about 500 wireless patents focused on LTE, 3G, and 4G.

The companies acquired the patents from IPWireless.

It has been a bull market for patents. Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion largely for its patent portfolio. Microsoft recently paid AOL $1 billion for patents. And beleaguered companies such as Kodak can get top dollar for patents. Meanwhile, analysts are valuing Research in Motion on patents too. Patent lawsuits among big players such as Oracle, Apple and Samsung abound.

Terms of the Nvidia and Intellectual Ventures purchase weren't disclosed. The two entities will split ownership of the patents. Nvidia will license whatever patents it didn't acquire. IPWireless gets royalty-free access to the patents.

Intellectual Ventures was founded in 2000 by former Microsoft exec Nathan Myhrvold among others. The company's patent portfolio is largely secret and critics have dismissed it as a patent troll that continually extracts licensing fees. Intellectual Ventures argues that it is protecting the industry from costly lawsuits.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "

About the author

    Larry Dignan is editor in chief of ZDNet and editorial director of CNET's TechRepublic. He has covered the technology and financial-services industries since 1995.


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