By Dan Levine
Dec 13 Intellectual Ventures has settled a
patent lawsuit against chipmaker Altera Corp, leaving
Xilinx Inc as the only remaining defendant in a suit in
which IV had claimed infringement by four semiconductor
companies, according to court documents.
Intellectual Ventures, which has purchased billions of
dollars worth of patents, sued Altera for infringement in
December 2010. Three other chipmakers were also defendants in
the lawsuit including Xilinx, which is also an IV investor.
According to documents filed this week in federal court in
Delaware, Altera and Intellectual Ventures agreed to dismiss all
claims against each other. Terms of the deal, including any
potential patent licenses, were not disclosed in the filings.
IV had previously announced settlements with Lattice
Semiconductor Corp and Microsemi Corp.
Melissa Finocchio, IV's chief litigation counsel, said in a
statement on Friday that the company continues to pursue
discussions with Xilinx. A Xilinx representative could not
immediately comment, and an Altera spokesman declined to comment
on its settlement with IV.
IV, founded in 2000, has raised about $6 billion from
investors and says it creates an organized mechanism for
innovators to capitalize on their ideas. However, critics in the
technology industry say patent litigation and royalty payments
have become a burdensome tax on innovation, and that firms like
IV that do not primarily make products are taking advantage of
In October, sources told Reuters that Intellectual Ventures
had curtailed its patent buying while it tried to raise another
$3 billion. They said the company had pushed back the closing
dates on some patent deals and bowed out of others.
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed
a bill aimed at making it harder for patent assertion entities
to file lawsuits. In the Senate, Patrick Leahy,
a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and
Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, have introduced a similar
bill. A Senate hearing on the issue is scheduled for next week.
The case in U.S. District Court, District of Delaware is
Intellectual Ventures I LLC and Intellectual Ventures II LLC vs.
Altera Corp et al., 10-1065.