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Intellectual Ventures targets AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile on patents

Patent-holding firm says its goal is to support innovation by protecting small inventors against litigious corporations, but to many, it's the litigious corporation stifling innovation.

Intellectual Ventures today filed a patent infringement complaint against three of largest cellular providers in the U.S.

The complaint, which targets AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, cites violations to patent No. 5,790,793, the nebulously titled "Method and system to create, transmit, receive and process information, including an address to further information," in addition other equally wide-armed patents.

The chief litigation counsel for Intellectual Ventures, Melissa Finocchio stated:

The wireless communications networks of AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile use a variety of important technologies covered by Intellectual Ventures' patents. We previously attempted to discuss licensing options with each of these companies, but none were responsive. We filed a complaint for infringement today in the U.S. District Court of Delaware to get these three companies on a course toward compensating IV for the value of the inventions they use in delivering their wireless services.

In October, Intellectual Ventures sued Motorola Mobility over several patents, including one for a "file transfer system," one that relates to an "illumination device and image projection apparatus comprising the device," and another that describes a "portable computer, communication and entertainment device with central processor carried in a detachable handset."

The company, founded by Nathan Myhrvold, a former chief technology officer at Microsoft, has taken heat over its impetus toward filing lawsuits based on the patents it has amassed; critics have branded it a "patent troll." Myhrvold, not surprisingly, sees things differently.

We'll keep an eye on this one as it develops.