Apple refuses to invest further in patent troll Intellectual Ventures

Apple and Intel both declined an invitation to invest in a new round of funding for patent assertion entity Intellectual Ventures, reports Reuters. Both companies had invested in the enterprise in the past. Intellectual Ventures did, however, receive further investments from both Microsoft and Sony. As a frequent target of patent trolls, it seemed an odd investment for Apple in the first place, and was most likely a simple protective measure: we’ll help fund you if you leave us alone.

Patent buyer Intellectual Ventures has persuaded Microsoft and Sony to invest in its latest acquisition fund while Apple and Intel, which invested with IV previously, declined to participate, according to people briefed on the fundraising. The investment decisions by four iconic technology companies comes in the midst of a heated debate over whether it is too easy for patent owners to extract large royalty payments, and whether patent buying firms spur or stifle innovation. Last year IV curtailed patent acquisitions as it sought new investors, and IV now is ramping up, say three sources familiar with IV’s activity in the patent market. “Microsoft and Sony’s investments give IV a fresh war chest to buy new patents,” said Kevin Jakel, chief executive of Unified Patents, which advises tech companies on alternatives to patent aggregators like IV.

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