The patent-holding company Intellectual Ventures (IV), founded by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold, has been required by a federal judge to disclose 60 of its major investors.
The disclosure was required by San Francisco federal district court judge Susan Illston, who's presiding over a declaratory judgment suit brought against IV by Xilinx, a semiconductor company. Amazon, Google, Adobe, Cisco and Apple are only a few of the major tech firms revealed to be investors in the company sometimes referred to as a "patent troll." Major universities, such as Northwestern, USC and the University of Minnesota are also listed (you'll find a complete list at the end of this post).
In Dec 2010, IV launched its first patent infringement suit -- a much anticipated move as the company has built up a massive patent portfolio over the last 11 years (it now holds 30,000 patents, according to its website). In Feb, California-based Xilinx brought about its suit against IV to determine licensing rights, and was subsequently listed as a defendant in the patent-infringement case.
Court rules require the disclosure of any interested parties in the litigation, though the IV's lawyers argued to make the disclosure under seal.
"(The list) contains highly confidential business information that could cause Defendants and third parties to suffer harm if the information becomes publicly known," argued lawyers from Desmarais LLP in an April motion. "Further, Defendants are contractually obligated to maintain the confidentiality of their investors."
Last week, Illston denied the motion and required the disclosure.
Here's the full list of IV's investors: