The draw of lucrative patent licensing deals in the technology sector is swelling the ranks of specialty patent businesses that try to turn technical breakthroughs into big money.

These new companies, often run by former Silicon Valley executives, buy unused patents from companies, broker deals between buyers and sellers of patents, and act as patent “investment banks” to turn knowledge into new businesses.

“All you’re doing is you’re creating another avenue for inventors to monetize their intellectual property,” said Peter Detkin, the former head of patent litigation and licensing at Intel Corp. (INTC.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , who is who is now a managing director of Intellectual Ventures LLC, an invention acquisition firm.

Underlying the interest in new intellectual property services are a string of giant settlements and new lawsuits that demonstrate just how much a good patent can be worth.

Several technology companies, including …

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