We've always wondered why former Microsoft CTO Nathan Mhyrvold was stockpiling patents at his new company Intellectual Ventures, and it looks like we're starting to find out why: in addition to licensing the entire portfolio to HTC and Samsung, IV's just filed its first three patent lawsuits against nine tech companies. Details are sparse, but the first suit is against Symantec, McAfeee, Trend Micro, and Check Point Software, the second names Elpida Memory and Hynix, and the third is against Altera, Lattice Semiconductor, and Microsemi. We'd assume the patents in question are all super-technical in nature, but it's really not the specifics we're interested in -- it's more the fact that IV is starting to flex some muscle in the tech world, and that means a lot of money could change hands real fast. We'll see what happens.

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Intellectual Ventures begins tech patent offensive, files three lawsuits against nine companies