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War preparations? Nvidia and Intellectual Ventures bought 500 wireless patents from IPWireless

May 15, 2012

In an increasingly hostile business environment, it seems Nvidia has found its safe haven in patent licensing firm Intellectual Ventures. The two have joined forces to buy 500 patents related to LTE, LTE-Advanced, and 3G/4G technologies from IPWireless. The ownership of the patents is equally divided between the two companies, while IPWireless gets to retain perpetual, royalty-free access to the wireless technology patents. Nvidia will be granted licensing rights for the patents that it didn’t acquire.

According to Nvidia executive vice president and general counsel David Shannon, the acquisition of the patents from IPWireless will complement the company’s ownership of “extensive fundamental patents in graphics, visual, and mobile computing.” Shannon added that the patents will also help Nvidia’s endeavor in expanding its mobile business.

Since terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, we don’t have the number to compare it to recent patent acquisitions. Microsoft recently spent $1 billion buying AOL’s treasure trove of patents, the majority of which Redmond sold to Facebook for $550 million later on. The most expensive one of them all, at least in recent years, was the acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion by Google, which the search giant admitted was done mostly to secure Motorola’s huge arsenal of patents.

As for Intellectual Ventures, the firm was founded in 2000 by Nathan Myrhvold, a former Microsoft CTO. Aside from buying patents and licensing them, Intellectual Ventures also develop patents of its own. The firm has filed patent infringement lawsuit against companies like Motorola Mobility, back in October 2011, and more recently against AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile over wireless technology patents.