I was talking it over with a friend again recently, and I still have the same reaction I had when I first heard of it (what, three years ago?): Is Nathan Myhrvold's company really an incredibly insidious impediment to commercial creativity? As I understand it, Intellectual Ventures' mode of operating is to study ongoing public research, brainstorm and extrapolate its eventual commercial uses, and patent them. They have no plans to actually build anything, only to take a piece of the pie from whomever does. This strikes me as a formula for squashing innovation outright. It also sounds like a great way for a group of smart posteconomic people to have fun.
As a Silicon Valley VC in this article worries "We're concerned that these giant pools of patent rights are going to prevent entrepreneurs from entering markets, as opposed to being used to promote innovation".