As reported by Robin Wauters in TechCrunch, Intellectual Ventures has filed suit against over a dozen companies, for patent infringement. The lawsuit was filed on July 11, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state. Lawrence D. Graham of Black Lowe & Graham and Elliot Brown of Irell & Manella, LLP are listed as counsel for Intellectual Ventures.
Intellectual Ventures brought suit against the following companies: Hynix Semiconductor Inc.; Hynix Semiconductor America Inc.; Elpida Memory, Inc.; Elpida Memory (USA) Inc.; Acer, Inc.; Acer America Corp.; Adata Technology Co., Ltd.; Adata Technology (U.S.A.) Co., Ltd.; Asustek Computer Inc.; Asus Computer International Inc.; Dell, Inc.; Hewlett-Packard Company; Kingston Technology Co., Inc.; Logitech International S.A.; Logitech, Inc.; Pantech Co., Ltd.; Pantech Wireless, Inc.; Best Buy Co., Inc.; and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
The IV Patents: Acquired from Cirrus Logic and Enhanced Memory Systems
Four of the five U.S. patents in these lawsuits were originally owned by Cirrus Logic and the fifth was originally owned by Enhanced Memory Systems, Inc. of Colorado Springs:
|5982696||Memories with programmable address decoding and systems and methods using the same||Cirrus Logic|
|5963481||Embedded enhanced DRAM, and associated method||Enhanced Memory Systems, Inc.|
|5687132||Multiple-bank memory architecture and systems and methods using the same||Cirrus Logic|
|5654932||Memory devices with selectable access type and methods using the same||Cirrus Logic|
|5500819||Circuits, systems and methods for improving page accesses and block transfers in a memory system||Cirrus Logic|
Patent Landscape Map of Lawsuit Patents
This Multi-Patent Landscape Map shows the 5 U.S. Patents that IV alleges are infringed.
Note: Click on the Patent Map Image on the Left to View an Interactive Patent Landscape Map.
The boxes with the Green Stars are the IV patents in this lawsuit.
To the right of each Green Star are the patents that cite the IV patents. These include 23 Micron Technology (red top boxes) patents.
Click to View a Citation Analysis of the companies and patents that appear on this map.
Patents Acquired by Intellectual Ventures from Cirrus Logic
The 4 Cirrus Logic patents in the IV lawsuit are part of a group of 61 patents that Intellectual Ventures acquired in 2010.
The 4 Cirrus Logic patents in the lawsuit are marked with Red Stars on this IPVision Patent Citation Interconnection Map, which shows the patent citations within this group of 61 patents. Note: Click on the Patent Map Image on the Right to View the Map Interactively.
These 61 patents have been cited by 843 other U.S. patents owned by 150 companies.
See a Patent Citation Analysis showing the companies and patents citing and cited by these 61 former Cirrus Logic patents.
License Agreement with Micron Technology
In addition to the 23 Micron Technology patents that cite the 5 patents in this lawsuit, the Patent Citation Analysis mentioned above shows that there are 183 total Micron Technology patents that cite one or more of the 61 patents that Intellectual Ventures acquired from Cirrus Logic. The large number of Micron Technology patents that cite these patents now owned by Intellectual Ventures may explain why Micron Technology entered into a License Agreement with IV in May 2011. This may have been in lieu of or in settlement of a threatened infringement suit.
According to the Intellectual Ventures Press Release: "The agreement provides Micron with access to IV’s patent portfolio of more than 30,000 IP assets. In addition, the companies have the option to buy patents from each other. Micron can acquire patents from IV to help defend against companies that may assert patents against them, and IV has the opportunity to acquire patents from Micron to expand and supplement its growing portfolio of IP assets."
This sounds a bit like a patent troll/robber agreeing to share guns with his robbery victim....
Author: Joseph G. Hadzima, Jr. | Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management | President of IPVision, Inc.