Sunday, February 01, 2009

bberg: Intellectual Ventures buys Transmeta IP

"Intellectual Ventures’ funding unit bought more than 140 patents and pending patents from Transmeta Corp., the Bellevue, Washington-based patent-development and licensing company said in a statement Jan. 28.

The acquisition comes in the wake of closely held Novafora Inc.’s $255.6 million acquisition of Transmeta of Santa Clara, California.

Transmeta, once backed by billionaires George Soros and Paul Allen, evolved from a chip manufacturer into a designer in 2005 after failing to compete with Intel in the market for low- power computer processors. The company eventually made almost all its money from services and technology-licensing revenue.

Intellectual Ventures -- known as IV -- says it will license the technology on a non-exclusive basis.

IV was founded by Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer of Microsoft Corp. In 2005, Myhrvold told the Association of University Technology Managers his company was interested in acquiring patents from universities. His company opened an office in Japan in 2007.

Peter Detkin, who formerly led the litigation efforts at Intel Corp., is an IV founder and vice chairman.

The company now has more than 2,000 semi-conductor patents, Paul Reidy, IV’s vice president of semiconductor licensing said in the statement. He said the newly acquired patents cover “some of the most interesting breakthroughs in microprocessor architecture we’ve seen in the last decade or so.”

Some of the other Transmeta IP will go to Novafora, where it can be used to improve the closely held chipmaker’s own technologies.

“This transaction demonstrated how Intellectual Ventures’ unique business model can enhance the creation, dissemination, and use of technological inventions,” Vincent Pluvinage said in the statement. He leads strategic IP acquisitions and private equity partnerships at IV."

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