Nathan Myhrvold & Co. on Tour as Intellectual Ventures Opens Offices Across Asia

10/3/08Follow @gthuang

When I visited Nathan Myhrvold in the summertime, he lamented that he wasn’t able to attend the Olympics in Beijing (though he did provide some insight into the physics of ping-pong matches). But this week and next, Myhrvold is taking a grander tour of Asia, as his Bellevue, WA-based invention company, Intellectual Ventures, opens a series of new offices in the region. It is the firm’s first major foray into the global market, with the goal being to amplify its focus on investing in technological invention as a key commodity and driver of innovation.

To that end, Myhrvold (an Xconomist) and Edward Jung, the founders of Intellectual Ventures, are in the midst of hosting office launches and events this month in five Asian countries. The company’s new regional headquarters is in Singapore, with additional offices located in Tokyo, Japan; Bangalore, India; Beijing, China; and Seoul, South Korea. Each office will be staffed by roughly seven to 10 people. “I am struck by the gap between Asia’s collective, innovative talent and the lack of resources for Asia’s greatest inventors. IV is working to fill this gap,” said Jung in a statement.

So what exactly will Intellectual Ventures be doing there? As Myhrvold told me previously, “Most inventing organizations like universities and nonprofits have a tech transfer office or a technology licensing office. Most institutions in Asia don’t.” Intellectual Ventures, he said, wants to “be an outsourced tech transfer agent for inventing institutions that don’t have one. We can provide the same functionality that you’d get from a technology licensing office. We evaluate ideas, we pay for them to be patented, we provide a little bit of funding for them, and then we license them. There’s no reason that smart people in Asia shouldn’t be able to get the same traction that Stanford provides.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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