NPR's Planet Money looks at Intellectual Ventures, the patent-exploitation firm started by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold. Intellectual Ventures presents itself as a firm that goes to bat for inventors, buying up their patents with the intention of getting big guys who abuse them to pay up. — Read the rest
In development for several years, the Photonic Fence is an anti-mosquito laser weapon that's apparently now being tested in a real world situation. I hope when it hits the market it still looks like a crazy contraption from a 1960s science fiction film! — Read the rest
Researcher Yarden Katz scraped the database of Intellectual Ventures, a giant business that buys up patents, but produces nothing but lawsuits (previously), and discovered that IV claims ownership of nearly 500 patents that were created at public expense by researchers employed by public universities, and another 100 or so patents filed by the US Navy.
Patent troll extraordinaire Nathan Myhrvold is a poor choice for a commencement speaker, writes Ara Shirinian for the Daily Bruin.
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Like other patent trolls, Intellectual Ventures does not create any commercial products, and uses vague patents with unoriginal ideas to make a game out of our legal system.
Intellectual Ventures fired 140 employees from the shakedown beat and is allegedly going to invest in actual products.
The Application Developers Alliance is trying to nail Lodsys, the notorious troll that uses a bogus patent from Intellectual Ventures to extort money from app developers. Lodsys is shrouded in mystery, uses global banks to avoid tax, and uses its patent claims to try to bankrupt companies that publicly call it out for trolling. — Read the rest
Patent troll Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures-connected Lodsys, one the many faceless companies founded to obscure exactly who shakes down small businesses with vague patents that represent equally-vague post-Microsoft careers, was forced to settle with a victim this week—but not without exercising some grotesque conditions on it. — Read the rest
This week, This American Life revisits the question of patents (a subject they did a very good job with in 2011), a move sparked by the attempt to shake down podcasters for patent royalties for a ridiculously overbroad patent from a company that went bust recording magazine articles to cassette and putting them in the mail. — Read the rest
Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures has received a patent for a DRM system for 3D printers, to stop people from printing out trademarked and patent objects. Like other DRM systems, this won't work (it will either have to be so broad in its parameters for recognizing prohibited items that it will balk at printing innumerable harmless objects, or it will be trivial to defeat by disguising the objects beyond the system's ability to recognize them). — Read the rest
Bloomberg reports that Foxconn is working with Amazon on a "wider range of low-priced hardware devices"; even more tellingly, it's just hired Intellectual Ventures' former senior director of acquisitions.
After my first child was born, I found that taking pictures was a problem. The Canon S1 IS I'd purchased was a terrific model, but unwieldy when holding a baby. With kid number 2, the problem became worse. One can only juggle so many children while snapping the shutter. — Read the rest
MAKE Volume 23 is on newsstands now!
In this special GADGETS issue, we show you how to make a menagerie of delightful machines: a miniature electronic Whac-a-Mole arcade game, a tiny but mighty see-through audio amplifier, a magic mirror that contains an interactive animated soothsayer, a self-balancing one-wheeled Gyrocar, and the Most Useless Machine – the creepy mechanical box whose only purpose is to turn itself off (as seen on The Colbert Report!). — Read the rest
3ric Johansen emailed me about this terrific video he made with Nathan Pegram using Intellectual Ventures' Phantom camera at Maker Faire 2010.
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We conducted some pure hackery in order to make these videos. The first key part was having a "Nanoflash SDI recorder".
Here's a video of mosquitoes being shot with Intellectual Ventures' laser zapper I mentioned in my TED round up yesterday. I'm not sure if the soundtrack ought to be "Blue Danube" or "Yakety Sax."
I took some photos of the gadget, along with Intellectual Ventures' project Scientist, 3ric Johanson standing next to it. — Read the rest
Here's my round up of highlights from the second day of the TED 2010 presentations. My head is abuzz with all the thought-provoking ideas I learned today. (Here's yesterday's roundup.)
There's probably a great Linux joke in here, but I'm not funny enough to come up with it. Technologist and former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold visited the Falklands[ / Islas Malvinas], and took some amazing photographs of penguins and other creatures there. — Read the rest