PopCap’s Sale to EA, Intellectual Ventures’ Legal Battle, Frank Artale’s Insights: Your 1-Minute Week in Seattle Tech News

7/19/11Follow @curtwoodward

Electronic Arts is betting that the creative minds at Seattle’s PopCap Games can help the console stalwart tackle social network gaming leader Zynga. That’s why EA paid $750 million up front, with incentives to add another $550 million, to acquire the 9-year-old casual game company last week. The deal had been rumored for a few weeks, after PopCap publicly toyed with the idea of going public this year.

Intellectual Ventures, the patent licensing and invention firm headed by Nathan Myhrvold, took a big step in its battle against a pair of overseas memory manufacturers by filing a complaint with the International Trade Commission. The ITC action asks international regulators to keep shipments of the contested memory products out of the U.S. Also named was a long list of companies that build, market, or sell products with the contested components, including household names like Hewlett-Packard and Best Buy.

Ignition Partners‘ new managing director Frank Artale sees the Seattle startup scene maturing, with more repeat entrepreneurs and stronger bridges being built between new companies and the software giants that often gobble up innovative startups. That’s just one of the insights I gleaned in an interview with Artale, who is now back in the Seattle area for work after spending some years in Silicon Valley.

What’s in a name? Plenty for Seattle’s Lighter Capital, the newly rechristened alternative finance startup formerly known as RevenueLoan. Co-founder Andy Sack explained the thinking behind this name change, which signals a broader focus and easier applications for entrepreneurs.

There’s now video of a recent discussion about the future of the Internet by Qi Lu, head of online services Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) at the company’s New England Research and Development Center. Xconomy helped put the event together back in May, and now you can go for a deep dive with the guy that Steve Ballmer personally recruited away from Yahoo.

The folks at CB Insights rounded up national venture capital activity through the second quarter, and the Seattle scene was looking a little sleepy compared to other regions. If you look at the share of dollars invested, Washington ventures made up about 2 percent of the national total—a ratio that was steady over the previous two quarters, but represents a 50 percent dropoff when compared to a year earlier. Massachusetts showed noticeable growth in this particular statistic.

We had two great guest columns. Well-known Seattle entrepreneur Jeremy Jaech gives you the rundown on all the “hidden gems” at the University of Washington, where he’s doing a kind of entrepreneur-in-residence gig. And Tom Ranken of the Washington Clean Technology Alliance dissects a new report that shows the pace of job growth in cleantech—there are more than 31,000 cleantech jobs in the Seattle area alone, ranking No. 13 among large metro areas.

Deals aplenty: LiveMocha, Telecom Transport Management, and RootMetrics raised cash; so did Swype; Ground Truth merged with Boston’s Umber Systems to become Mobile Intelligence Solutions; Lockerz acquired AddtoAny.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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