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Report: Bill Gates Becoming Patent Troll Like Nathan Myhrvold

Nathan Myhrvold



"Intellectual property is the next software."

--Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll



THE story of Myhrvold and Gates was told here before [1, 2]. They are partners in so-called patent-trolling because Gates is investing in Myrholvd's patent-trolling firm. And yes, this pair conceived Intellectual Ventures, which has already begun extortion against large companies and it receives licensing fees for patents it possesses.



Gates' obsession with patents is nothing new and a few weeks ago we suspected that Gates was creating another patent troll in his home state. Our far-fetched speculation at the time seems likely to have just become a correct one because Mike Masnick unearthed the following.

Plenty of folks have been wondering just what Bill Gates is up to now that he's left his full-time position at Microsoft. Longtime rabble-rouser theodp has alerted us to one thing that Bill Gates is spending at least some of his time on: a bunch of patent applications for a company named "Searete LLC" -- including this one for rewarding influencers and another for a method to inject fluids into animals.

So, what's Searete? Well, it appears (warning: pdf file) that it's one of the many ultra secret shell front companies for Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures, a company that unabashedly plans to be a huge patent tollbooth on just about any kind of innovation. We've already noted that he's been setting up shell companies as part of the operation's secrecy.


The Register has an article about this too (citing Mike).

TechDirt has uncovered that Bill Gates is named as an inventor on nine patents registered with a company called Searete since he stepped down from day-to-day responsibilities with Microsoft. Gates is also named on a further two Searete patents pre-dating his Microsoft departure.

Searete is one of a clutch of companies operated by Myrholvd's Intellectual Ventures (IV). Myhrvold holds 241 named patents in Searete, whose catalogue goes back to November 200


Further down it says some things about "Microsoft's Open Specification Promise (OSP)," stressing that "concerns remain that Microsoft can unilaterally update the terms."

We warned about the OSP many times before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

What to do when a company is sinking and its software is worth about $0? Use intellectual monopolies to loot the industry, only months after a so-called 'departure' in pursuit of "philanthropy". It's too early to say too much about "Searete", though. This is likely to become important.

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