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Intellectual Ventures, IP, IP Asset, Patent

University of Texas Endowment Fund Manager Comments On Patents & Intellectual Ventures Investment

As I mentioned on the Patent Calls blog last Friday (see Patent Calls CEO Quoted in Austin Business Journal), the University of Texas was one of dozens of investors disclosed in a federal court filing as having a financial interest in patent litigation brought by Intellectual Ventures.  According to the Austin Business Journal article:

The University of Texas Investment Management Co., or UTIMCO, has invested more than $28 million in Bellevue, Wash.-based Intellectual Ventures Management LLC.

See: UTIMCO big supporter of Intellectual Ventures | Austin Business Journal

In fact, according to a list of UTIMC’s private investments (pdf), posted at peHUB, the UT endowment fund has committed $50 MM for an 8.47% stake in Invention Development Fund I, LLC (focused on early stage Asian technology) and a 2.17% stake in Invention Investment Fund II, LLC (focused on early stage US technology) (pgs 14-15 of the PDF).

Quoted in the article is Luke Stanfield of the Austin-based firm Stanfield Hiserodt, a 2007 law graduate with no apparent engineering background, and no disclosed experience with patent litigation or prosecution.  Nevertheless, Stanfield can confidently claim that the cost of litigation can “stifle innovation” and chill enthusiasm for new advances. However, UTIMCO’s CEO Bruce Zimmerman (who came to UT with decades of experience as a strategic consultant to innovative companies) is also quoted in the article.  Zimmerman says investment firms like IV are needed to defend expensive and hard-fought IP rights, the kind which qualified patent attorneys charge many thousands of dollars to obtain.

The omni-present (when IV is mentioned) Thomas Ewing is also quoted, backing Zimmerman and disagreeing with Stanfield’s uninformed claim that IP investment stifles innovation.  Ewing, who has been named one of the world’s Top 250 IP Strategists, has spent significant time studying Intellectual Venture’s structure and investments (detailed on the IAM blog).  Again, I’ll take Ewing’s resume over Stanfield’s any day, but that’s just me.

Among the other interesting facts reported in the story, IV receives a seven-figure management fee from UT annually, and the value UT’s investment has decreased substantially over the past year.

Read the full article (subscription required): UTIMCO big supporter of Intellectual Ventures | Austin Business Journal

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