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Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures laying off five percent of workforce

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Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures will be laying off five percent of its workforce according to the Seattle Times.

Myhrvold recently implied that the reason pharmaceutical patents are accepted and software patents are not is that pharma patents have been around longer. More recently it has been reported that Intellectual Ventures (IV) is curtailing its patent acquisition program and seeking to raise more capital. Google declined to participate in further funding of the company.

Also in the news recently, large companies have been going toe to toe with IV, willing to expend significant resources when settling may have been easier. As has been widely reported, a dispute between Motorola and Intellectual Ventures just ended in a mistrial. And recently Intellectual Ventures successfully invalidated several Xilinx patents at the Patent Trials and Appeals Board in likely retaliation for Xilinx's preemptive declaratory action which it filed in the Northern District of California in 2011. So in standing toe-to-toe with Intellectual Ventures, Xilinx lost some patents in addition to substantial legal expenditures.

As principled industry legal resistance continues to mount, patent troll investment money dries up and Congress and the Supreme Court step in, IV layoff notices like these might become more frequent.

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