Many see Intellectual Ventures as this evil patent troll and they’d be perfectly correct however after some more digging it seems that there may actually be more to this company than meets the eye:
For some background on the company: Intellectual Ventures, which, depending on whom you ask, is either the biggest, most aggressive patent troll on the planet or a pioneering company that’s helping inventors get their fair share. The company regularly sues other inventors (and we’re talking big companies such as Apple and Microsoft) for infringement of the patents that Intellectual Ventures own. They don’t create anything, they just collect that royalties for other people’s work.
However there is a product and fun side:
What we found was an 800-person company with a split personality: On one side is a think tank, where people with big ideas get together and dream up ways to solve big problems, from keeping vaccines refrigerated where there is little electricity to improving the lenses of cameras.
The think tank has spun off two businesses. The first was TerraPower, a company that’s building a new, cleaner nuclear reactor. The second, expected to be announced today, is Kymeta. With $12 million in funding from Bill Gates, Liberty Global, and Lux Capital, Kymeta is intended to use so-called metamaterials to produce antennas that improve satellite connections to everything from airplanes to individual hotspots.
The company also holds brainstorm sessions:
Over the years, the company has come up with 500 patents and 4,000 patent applications from these sessions (the company now averages about 30 new patents per month). Those sessions now take place in a conference room inside the company’s main lab in Bellevue. Here, whiteboards and monitors are affixed to nearly every wall, though popping your head in, you might simply think this is where the lab’s staff has its every-day meetings.
It’s a fascinating place that leverages litigation and creation to build massive wealth. Should the company be banned for taking advantage of the American legal system? Probably