Blog Post

RIM Signs On With Intellectual Ventures For Its Patent Portfolio

RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) has followed fellow handset makers HTC and Samsung into the arms of Intellectual Property Ventures, signing a deal with the patent-holding company founded by Microsoft’s former CTO, Nathan Myhrvold (pictured) and its former chief architect, Edward Jung. The deal will give RIM access to 30,000 patent’s in IV’s portfolio.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed in the news release, but as with past deals with other handset makers HTC and Samsung, the agreement will allow RIM to use the patents alongside its own in the development of products and, significantly, “leverage IV’s portfolio in its future licensing negotiations.”

Patent wars have become a hot issue in the mobile world. Just yesterday, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) got hit by yet another complaint from Nokia (NYSE: NOK) yesterday at the ITC even while facing a setback in its first ITC suit, with the commission ruling initially in Apple’s favor.

Given that competitors like Samsung and HTC will already have access to IV’s patents, rather than gaining a technological edge, this deal could be more about making sure that RIM has the same IP access that the others do for future product development; and perhaps more importantly for safeguarding against suits from competitors — and companies like IV itself.

Intellectual Ventures is currently involved in lawsuits against nine tech companies — computer security companies and memory manufacturers — and there could be more on the way.

Patent holding and patent guarding can be a lucrative business: Nathan Myhrvold noted earlier this month that IV picked up $700 million in licensing revenue last year and $2 billion to date.