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Intellectual Ventures files three new patent suits

Company that banks on patent infringement claims sues nine security, memory, and chip firms after they decline to license technology.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills

Intellectual Ventures, founded by former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold, filed three patent infringement lawsuits today against nine companies in the security, memory, and chip markets.

One lawsuit names as defendants Check Point Software Technologies, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro and accuses them of infringing on four of its patents related to antivirus and Internet security, according to the lawsuit available for download here.

The second suit accuses Elpida Memory and Hynix Semiconductor, makers of DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) and Flash memory, of infringing between five and seven of its patents. And the final suit alleges that three makers of FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) logic chips--Altera, Lattice Semiconductor and Microsemi Corp., which recently bought Actel-- infringed upon between three and five patents.

The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Delaware.

Representatives for the security companies said executives were reviewing or looking into the lawsuit filed against them and thus not able to comment yet. Calls or e-mails to the other defendants were not immediately returned.

Intellectual Ventures, a controversial company with plenty of muscle, has a business model based on developing or acquiring patents and then licensing the technology to others. The company says in the lawsuits that it approached the defendants offering to sell them licenses, but the firms declined.

The company is based in Bellevue, Wash., and was founded in 2000 with a goal of investing in invention.