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IV’s Founders and President Applaud TROL Act on Frivolous Demand Letters

In a letter this week to lawmakers in Congress, the founders of Intellectual Ventures strongly endorsed legislation that would penalize those who threaten law-abiding businesses with frivolous and often fraudulent “demand letters” that allege patent infringement.

IV’s Founders and President Applaud TROL Act on Frivolous Demand Letters

“Specious demand letters targeting America’s small businesses are not a naturally occurring feature of a well-functioning marketplace for invention,” wrote IV’s founders and president in support of the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act, a bill authored by Rep. Lee Terry, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

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IV’s Favorite Inventions: Cipher Machines

If you ever visit Intellectual Ventures’ offices, you’ll notice that a few interesting inventions make their homes in our hallways. One of these looks like a typical typewriter — in fact, you would likely pass by it without a second glance, if you noticed it at all.

IV’s Favorite Inventions: Cipher Machines

But beneath its unexceptional appearance lies a technology that is anything but ordinary. This is an example of a T-52 cipher machine.

No, we’re not talking about the villain from the Matrix movies. A cipher, more or less, is an algorithm used to encrypt a message. In order to fully appreciate the T-52, let’s take a journey through the evolution of this invention.

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Who Inspires You to Innovate?

Thomas Edison said that genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. Anyone who’s tried to transform an idea into a product knows that ratio holds true for invention. While innovation may begin as a flash of genius, it takes hard work to move from idea to proof of concept to working product, and there are moments of both failing and rejoicing along the way.

Who Inspires You to Innovate?
At work in the Intellectual Ventures electronics lab.


Whether you’re a lone inventor or working at an innovative company, you can find encouragement and support in the inventor community and those who’ve survived the journey from Eureka! moment to finished product.

To fuel your innovation inspiration, heed a few words of wisdom from inventors past and present.

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Everything Ventured, Everything Gained

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon. 45 years ago, man took his first steps there. Today we’re reminded of how fast technology can develop in the right environment and the distance that invention can take us when inventors, investors, big and small companies, governments, universities and communities work together.

Edward Jung, IV founder and CTO, calls the Apollo program a historical example of the impact of collaborative invention:

 “The Apollo space program created a $25 billion (more than $150B in today’s dollars!) innovation economy and put a man on the moon in less than a decade — thanks to the cooperation of government and industry, the individual and the team.”

To give this accomplishment more context, travel back with us seven years before 1969 to 1962, when President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at Rice University in Houston, TX.

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What Not to Miss In the Insights Archive

We combed the IV Insights blog archive for the most read posts. From IP strategy to geek masterminds, take a look at a few reader favorites that you won’t want to miss.

What Not to Miss In the Insights Archive

The Next Age of Invention
The “lone genius” model of invention has a problem with scale. How will we solve long-term, large-scale problems? Here’s IV Founder and CTO Edward Jung on the importance of cooperation.

5 Inconvenient Truths About Patent Reform
If you listen to a rising banter of critics, you might think that patents are killing innovation. Here’s another perspective from the man who coined the term “patent troll.”

Inventions to Startups: Coffee Flour is off to the Races
Can good IP strategy spur new business? Learn how Intellectual Ventures Invention Development Fund used an IP portfolio to helped launch startup company CF Global.

Software Patents: Just Because it’s in Code Doesn’t Mean it isn’t an Invention
Within the loud and often incoherent chorus of anti-patent “reformers,’’ there’s a particularly shrill sub-group who rails against software patents. Are you among them?

10 Must Reads for Inventors
Curious about invention? Check out the list of IV’s must-reads among the inventor community.

Which Geek Mastermind Are You?
Are you more like Einstein or Tesla? Just for fun, take a quick quiz to find out which inventor you share a wavelength with.

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Defining a Disruptor

Last month, Clayton Christensen’s favored theory of disruptive innovation was ripped apart by the New Yorker, and then put back together again in Businessweek.

Defining a Disruptor

Love the term or hate it, there’s no doubt disruptors challenge the status quo. “Because it’s always been done that way,” is not in their vocabulary. They’re risk-takers and change advocates who are unafraid of the controversy and resistance stirred up by their ideas.

Being a disruptor sure can come with its fair share of misinterpretation as well. Nathan Myhrvold, our cofounder and CEO, has said, “You can’t do anything significant in life if you’re not willing to be misunderstood for some period of time.” This requires courage and a strong belief in your mission – a willingness to step into a different territory and to create something new.

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Patently False

We’ve often wondered: If “patent trolls” and the “explosion” of lawsuits are strangling innovation as some critics claim, then why are the most blazingly innovative industries also the ones with the most new patents and lawsuits?

Patently False

Take smartphones for example, one the most patent-intensive industries. There have been epic patent battles in court.

Yet the pace of smartphone innovation has been off the charts, while prices for consumers have fallen dramatically. Twenty years ago, few people had cellphones and those who did paid $1,000 for a basic model. Today, you can buy a smartphone for less than $100.

This evidence always strikes us as a clear and common-sense rebuttal to what the anti-patent crowd is saying. And now there’s rigorous new research that confirms what we’ve always believed to be true.

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Staff Spotlight: IV Patent Acquisitions

Intellectual Ventures (IV) has one of the largest patent portfolios in the world, which we’ve built up through our own in-house invention process, a worldwide network of inventors, and by working closely with some of the most inventive individuals, startups, and companies in the world.

Staff Spotlight: IV Patent Acquisitions

To help explain how we have developed such a diverse patent portfolio, we asked Troy Niehaus, director of acquisitions at IV, how a 22-year career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and a decade of coaching baseball and softball has helped shape his search across a huge range of technologies to find and purchase the next-generation of inventions for IV customers.

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Patriotic and Peculiar Fourth of July Inventions

Here at the Intellectual Ventures headquarters in Washington state, we’re raising our stars and stripes this Independence Day to salute our nation’s innovative spirit. American inventors have done extraordinary things; they gave us the telephone, the assembly line, and the polio vaccine. It’s also important to honor the inventors who don’t have a dedicated chapter in the American history books. Their inventions may not be well known, but they are just as extraordinary in their creativity.

Patriotic and Peculiar Fourth of July Inventions

In addition to saluting America’s famed inventors, let’s recognize a few patriotic and peculiar inventions you might see this Fourth of July weekend.

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IV in the News: Institute for Disease Modeling

It’s been a busy couple of months for IV’s Institute for Disease Modeling. By developing detailed computer simulations of disease transmission for malaria, polio, tuberculosis, and HIV overlaid with real-time computer modeling of climate, migration and population shifts, IDM provides the scientific data for local governments, multi-lateral institutions and non-profits to make broad policy, program and funding decisions that will help eradicate deadly diseases.    

IV in the News: Institute for Disease Modeling

Recently, Philip Eckhoff, research scientist and IDM’s principal investigator, published a research paper he co-authored with fellow U.S. scientists and health officials in Nigeria studying historical polio caseload patterns and forecast future circulation of two types of wild poliovirus within districts in Nigeria. The paper, published in BMC Medicine, ultimately concluded that the modeling approach used by IDM for this particular study could be applied to other vaccine-preventable diseases for use in other control and elimination programs.

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Bill Gates venture finds a safer, affordable way to collect, store, transport #milk in Kenya bit.ly/1pFxDRo #dairy

Jul 30

IV supports the TROL Act. Read the letter from our Founders and President on IVInsights: bit.ly/1xvP7Eb

Jul 29

A few interesting inventions make their homes in our hallways. Including this one from 1930... ow.ly/zIPjz

Jul 29