Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was one of several names that surfaced last week on five patents filed by Searete, which is associated with a Bellevue, Wash. company called Intellectual Ventures formed by former Microsoft executives as a factory for new inventions.
Critics have complained that Intellectual Ventures will raise patent litigation costs, but the company claims to be working with more than 500 scientists and technicians in addition to universities, research labs and Fortune 500 companies.
Intellectual Ventures co-founder Nathan Myhrvold advised Gates for years as Microsoft's chief technology officer and in 1991 founded Microsoft Research. The idea behind some of these patents is to create equipment that would lower the force of hurricanes by cooling the water, altering its surface tension, and shifting it away from recreational areas.
They're not the only Searete patents attached to Gates. Since he stepped down last year as Microsoft's CEO, he has been freer to focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to improve global health and education and reduce poverty, and pursue a variety of other interests.
Some of these interests are reflected in Searete's patents. Gates' name has been on patents for an electromagnetic engine and a method of delivering medication.
Gates and Myhrvold have also filed a series of patents for a temperature-controlled keg to store medicine -- and, separately, beer and wine -- at optimal temperatures. The keg would come with sensors and an electronic display that would allow people to monitor the liquids without having to open the container.
Intellectual Ventures co-founder, Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft's chief technology officer, Microsoft Research, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Searete, Fortune 500 companies, electromagnetic engine, a method of delivering medication, temperature-controlled keg to store medicine,