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Google Forms Patent Alliance To Ward Off Trolls

by Brandon Russell | July 9, 2014July 9, 2014 9:00 pm PST

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Some well-known tech companies are joining forces to create a kind of patent super team in an effort to scare away patent trolls. According to Re/code, companies such as Google, Canon and Dropbox, among others, are joining the License on Transfer (LOT) network to pool together almost 300,000 patent assets, with an oath to grant licenses to one another whenever one of those patents is sold. The whole point is to nip patent trolls in the bud by keeping these patents out of their hands.

Patent reform has been a hot-topic of discussion in the U.S. over the past few years; in 2012 alone, more than 60-percent of patent litigation was started by trolls, Re/code noted. Most of the time, the very patents these trolls use come directly from the companies the trolls are suing. Oh, the irony. LOT, lead by Google legal director Eric Schulman, is a portfolio-wide initiative, and applies to patents that are transferred.

Dropbox’s IP counsel, Brett Alten, said the appeal of LOT is the fact that it’s an “inclusive model,” and doesn’t necessarily favor big or small companies. For smaller companies, it ensures immunity in instances when large companies sell or transfer assets out of their networks. It benefits the larger companies, meanwhile, because it prevents instances when smaller companies sell off their patents to trolls before going under.

While the patent Justice League doesn’t affect existing lawsuits, it prevents further litigation from happening. That’s not outright reform, but it’s a pretty big step in the right direction, and prevents trolls from doing what they do.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...