Written by Jason Lee Miller & taken from SmallBusinessUK
The 21st Century, where all things tech, software, media, and e-business will converge and boom with deafening force, is creating a new realm of specialization that is vital to an evolve or die type of market. That realm, as many are learning through litigation and deflated new product hopes, is intellectual property rights.
Intellectual Ventures, a company spawned by two former Microsoft employees, recognizes the potential of this burgeoning market, collecting patents rather than products.
Online and tech giants like Google, eBay, Apple, Intel, Sony, and Microsoft recognize the value of procuring the rights to innovation, even before the innovation is a reality, putting forth hundreds of millions of dollars for the company’s patent collection.
Intellectual Ventures chiefs Nathan Myhrvold and Edward Jung run a dual-philosophy company that aims to capitalize on the fear of corporate patent lawsuits while giving the driving force of the future, the inventors themselves, who often find themselves victims to corporate opportunism, a leg up.
“Silicon Valley companies have stolen other people’s inventions for too long,” charges the company, according to one source.
Invention is one tier of the unconventional company with fewer than 50 employees, which sources say have collected anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 over the past few years. By comparison, IBM collected the most US patents last year at just over 3,000. The majority of Intellectual Ventures staff are inventors and attorneys.
As may seem self-explanatory, staff inventors invent, while attorneys collect, apply for, and buy patents. The mix makes for an incredibly unconventional company that doesn’t really make anything-they just own the rights to. And it’s the right to make products that has drawn the attention from major tech and Web players.
Microsoft’s recent tangles with Research In Motion over the BlackBerry product, Apple’s “whoops” after it discovers iPod technology patent was awarded to Microsoft first, Google’s loss of the Gmail trademark in the UK, are all examples of the importance of procuring the rights to a product before it is launched in case somebody else beats you to the Patent and Trademark office.
Intellectual Ventures represents a radically new business model for technology–a cross between a venture capital fund, a law firm and an R&D lab. It wants to finance inventors to do what they do best-invent and obtain patents on those technologies. Then it wants to license those innovations to the world (and pursue infringers with razor-fanged determination). The IT industry is terrified of it,” says The Economist.
As the global economy continues to grow and connect, intellectual property is the new frontier. It is not so much who has a good idea, but has the idea and calls dibs on it first.
About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.