IV Insights Blog

Posts from the Ideas and Inventors category

IV reveals metamaterial-based satellite communications user terminal technology at Satellite 2011

On Wednesday, March 16, Russell Hannigan, director of business development at IV®, spoke about some of IV’s work in the metamaterials space and revealed for the first time a project to develop technology for a new kind of flat and thin antenna optimized for mobile broadband satellite communications, such as for boats, planes and other vehicles. Unlike all other competing products that require complicated motors to steer the antenna physically so that it remains locked on the satellite, IV’s Metamaterial Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T) is designed to steer a radio frequency beam electronically. Eliminating the motors greatly simplifies the user terminal, leading potentially to an order of magnitude reduction in size, weight, power and cost.

Russell joined a panel at SATELLITE 2011 in Washington D.C., where the title of his presentation was “Metamaterial Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T): Ka-band satcom user terminal employing metamaterial technology to enable electronic beam steering.” We asked him to answer some questions about metamaterials and the pioneering work IV is doing, as well as provide recommendations on where to learn more about this fascinating technology.

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Nathan Myhrvold Unveils IV’s Self-Sanitizing Surfaces

Every year in the U.S. there are 1.7 million in-hospital infections, resulting in nearly 100,000 needless deaths. Those sobering statistics were the inspiration behind a series of invention sessions at IV that looked at ways to cut down the number of infections in healthcare field.

At OneMedForum in January, IV’s CEO Nathan Myhrvold discussed a particular invention, the self-sanitizing surface, which resulted from some of these health technology invention sessions. You can also learn more about IV’s self-sanitizing surfaces on the IV Lab blog, and you can find more information on IV’s Health Technology Inventions on our website.

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Introducing…(Drumroll, Please)…Inventor Spotlights!

Today we’re launching a new section on our website called Inventor Spotlights. It’s designed to do exactly what it sounds like – highlight an inventor that IV works with. Many of the patents that we acquire come from individual inventors and inventive companies who decide they want to monetize their portfolios for one reason or another. Often, they want to have the financial freedom to continue following their passion for inventing. Last week, we discussed the example of a company called FSMLabs. As their CEO Victor Yodaiken told the Securities Technology Monitor, “For us, this is simply a way to monetize our research investment and accelerate our business.”

Whether we’re interacting with individuals who invent in their spare time or with inventive companies, we evaluate each patent to ensure that it aligns well with our broader licensing goals. If it does, we purchase the patent and invest in its maintenance, freeing up the inventor to continue doing what they do best – solving problems and developing new ideas.

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Working with Inventors

At IV we work with inventors and inventive companies in a variety of ways, including buying IP assets from them. Many times we buy valuable assets when a company believes that a reputable and experienced IP company like IV will be best suited to monetize them. The cash infusion from selling us those assets allows those companies to continue developing and marketing their core products.

FSMLabs is one such company who recently sold us some of its virtualization, security and fault tolerance patents. FSMLabs, which provides its customers with real-time and timekeeping technology, sold us part of their patent portfolio because it allows them to apply the capital toward continuing to execute on their business and do further research. 

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Getting to know IV

Today we are launching IV Insights, the Intellectual Ventures corporate blog.  IV Insights will give you information about what is happening at IV as well as our insights on industry news and events.

For our first post, we wanted to start with the question we get most – What does IV do anyway?

Our CEO, Nathan Myhrvold, wrote an in-depth article earlier this year on just this topic for Harvard Business Review. If you really want to understand IV’s vision and business model, this is the best resource.

If you just want the summary: IV’s goal is to lead the way in building an invention capital market.  This is an ambitious vision with a long timescale, but we are a committed bunch of people!

Our business model has many moving parts but basically, we treat invention as an asset.  We want to make investing in this asset class a profitable activity.  Bottom line is: ideas are valuable.  It’s important that inventors get paid for their inventions and that corporate innovators who understand the competitive value of a strong IP portfolio have an efficient way to find the inventions they need to operate freely and competitively. 

To get to our goal, we fund and support inventors to come up with new ideas and we invest in existing inventions.  We then work to package inventions and get them into the market through a variety of business development and licensing efforts.  We also have a group of projects we do around what we call global good efforts -- these are projects focused on finding solutions for some of the world’s hard problems in energy, climate and global health – particularly malaria.

Face it: inventors make people a bit nostalgic. We all have our favorite inventor story. Yet the world has taken the importance of invention for granted. By making invention a for-profit activity, we believe we will incentivize more people to take necessary risks on coming up with radical new solutions and ultimately the world will benefit. 

This sums up our first official blog post. We hope to update the blog weekly, but please bear with us as we get into the groove of regular posts. You can also sign up for the blog’s RSS feed and follow IV on Twitter @IVinvents.

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