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Intellectual Ventures settles patent lawsuit with Microsemi

The settlement marks the fifth lawsuit resolved in recent months by the controversial patent holding company, which claims control of more than 40,000 intellectual-property assets.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
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Intellectual Ventures' co-founder Nathan Myhrvold Intellectual Ventures

Patent holding company Intellectual Ventures announced today it had resolved its long-running patent infringement litigation with chipmaker Microsemi.

The settlement dispenses with all patent litigation between the two and makes Microsemi a licensee of segments of Intellectual Ventures' massive patent portfolio. Financial terms of the settlement were not revealed.

Microsemi was one of a handful of companies sued for patent infringement in 2010 by Intellectual Ventures, a patent holder co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft's former chief technology officer. Altera and Lattice Semiconductor, other makers of FPGA (field-programmable gate array) logic chips, were also accused of infringing up to five patents owned by Intellectual Ventures. Defendants for other lawsuits filed that day included Check Point Software Technologies, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro.

Microsemi is the fifth company in recent months to settle patent litigation with Intellectual Ventures, which says it now controls more than 40,000 intellectual-property assets. It settled a lawsuit with camera-maker Olympus last November. SK Hynix and Elpida settled lawsuits in September, followed by McAfee in a separate lawsuit in October.

Intellectual Ventures will be under increasing pressure in the next few years to wring more money out of its intellectual assets, according to legal researchers who have studied the company.

As CNET wrote in a behind-the-scenes look at the Bellevue, Wash., company, Myhrvold has described Intellectual Ventures and its $5 billion in funds raised in terms of venture capital. Researchers at the University of California's Hastings School of Law estimate that in order for a 10-year fund of that size to be successful, Intellectual Ventures would have to generate $40 billion in revenue through licensing, partnerships, and litigation.

Inside Intellectual Ventures' patent factory (pictures)

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