Intellectual Ventures Sues A Slew Of Firms, Including HP And Dell, Over Patent Infringement

Intellectual Ventures is (again) suing a host of companies, including HP, Dell, Acer, Logitech, Kingston Technology, Best Buy and Walmart, over patent infringement.

The firm, which has amassed a huge trove of technology patents since it was founded back in 2000, sued nine other tech companies, including Check Point Software, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro in December last year.

It marked the first time Intellectual Ventures, which is headed by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, directly sued over patent infringement, and it was viewed by many as a sign that the firm would be taking an increasingly aggressive stance over its (acquired) intellectual property.

The new lawsuit confirms this, and you can expect the move to draw attention from legal departments at numerous technology companies from around the globe.

The suit targets Hynix Semiconductor of Korea and Elpida Memory of Japan, saying that they have declined repeated efforts to pay royalties on computer-chip technology. The other defendants make or sell products that have Hynix or Elpida chips.

The full list of defendants (documents embedded below):

Hynix Semiconductor, Elpida Memory, Acer, Adata Technology, Asustek Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Kingston Technology, Logitech International, Pantech, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

The patents-in-suit:

5,963,481: “Embedded enhanced DRAM, and associated method”
5,654,932: “Memory devices with selectable access type and methods using the same”
5,982,696: “Memories with programmable address decoding and systems and methods using the same”
5,500,819: “Circuits, systems and methods for improving page accesses and block transfers in a memory system”
5,687,132: “Multiple-bank memory architecture and systems and methods using the same”

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, seeks unspecified damages.

In the lawsuit documents, the firm claims that it has purchased more than 30,000 assets to date, and in the process has paid individual inventors “hundreds of millions of dollars” for their inventions. Intellectual Ventures also says it has earned nearly $2 billion by licensing these patents, but is also quick to point out it creates inventions of its own.

Intellectual Ventures recently reached licensing agreements with the likes of SAP, Research In Motion, Micron and BlueCat Networks.