Intellectual Ventures establishes office in Vancouver

Eric Engleman of TechFlash reported today that patent firm Intellectual Ventures is expanding its international footprint, opening an office in Vancouver and installing a Microsoft veteran to head it.

The Bellevue, WA-based firm, which has amassed more than 30,000 technology patents, opened the office in downtown Vancouver in May and it’s being led by Parminder Singh, former managing director of the Microsoft Development Centre in Richmond. Singh left Microsoft in June of 2009.

Canada is the latest international outpost for Intellectual Ventures, which is headed by former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold. The firm has opened offices in China, India, Japan, Korea and Singapore, and added another in Australia early this year.

Intellectual Ventures has sparked controversy with its business model. Some see the firm as a giant “nonpracticing entity,” or patent troll, which uses its large patent war chest — and the implied threat of litigation — to get tech companies to pay hefty licensing fees.

Intellectual Ventures’ new Vancouver 5,500 square foot office has four staff members but plans to grow. The office has already established partnerships with an unidentified government agency and academic institution.