PriorSmart.com: Intellectual Ventures LLC. (IV for short) sues Canon over infringement of imaging patents it has acquired from different companies. 4 out of 9 patents mentioned in the lawsuit are directly related to image sensors. Two of them were originally granted to Motorola, one - to Hynix and one CCD patent - to LG Semi (Hynix acquired LG Semiconductor in 1999, so it was bought from Hynix probably). The patents are:
6,023,081: “Semiconductor image sensor” by Drowley et. al. and assigned to Motorola, Inc. Filed 11/14/1997 & Granted 2/8/2000.
6,221,686: “Method of making a semiconductor image sensor” by Drowley et. al. and assigned to Motorola, Inc.. Filed 1/28/2000 & Granted 4/24/2001.
6,979,587: “Image sensor and method for fabricating the same” by Lee and assigned to Hynix Semiconductor Inc. Filed 12/30/2002 & Granted 12/27/2005.
5,844,264: “Charge-coupled device image sensor” by Shinji and assigned to LG Semicon Co., Ltd. Filed 9/19/1995 & Granted 12/1/1998.
IV founder and CEO Nathan Myhrvold used to be Microsoft's CTO and chief strategist. In the lawsuit docs IV says it has purchased more that 35,000 intellectual assets and paid more than $400M to individual inventors. IV, in its turn, has earned more than $2B by licensing these patents to other companies. IV also claims to develop its own inventions, has a staff of scientists and engineers and collaborates with research institutions around the world.
An opposite view on IV and its business is presented in This American Life podcast. "NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees."
Thanks to EF for sending me the link!