Web Services patents fetch $15.5 million
SAN FRANCISCO--A mysterious bidder paid $15.5 million Monday in a bankruptcy court auction of dozens of Internet-related patents--and then rushed out of the courtroom.
On the United States Bankruptcy Court auction block were 39 patents owned by Commerce One, a bankrupt software company in Santa Clara, Calif., that's in the process of shutting down and liquidating its assets.
The patents cover a set of key technical protocols known as Web services, a popular method for exchanging business documents over the Internet. The protocols are in wide use today; Microsoft, IBM and other software companies both large and small have incorporated them into their programs.
JGR beat out seven other bidders, including two companies connected to Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft executive who now runs Intellectual Ventures, a company that collects patents.
One of those companies was ThinkFire Services USA, an intellectual-property consulting company in Clinton, N.J. The company, where Myhrvold serves as chairman and co-founder, bid as high as $14.3 million. Brissac, which also employs Myrhvold, bid as high as $14.9 million.