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Microsoft launches patent tracking system that could foil trolls

Tool makes it easier to prove ownership

Microsoft is fighting patent trolls with the weapon it knows best—technology.

On March 28, the company launched Patent Tracker, a tool that holds a searchable database of all Microsoft’s patents. Users can search for patents by title, number or assignee of record. The advantage this gives to Microsoft is that it can clearly show ownership, making it more difficult for trolls—who buy up patents just to litigate them and rake in big bucks—to follow their established patterns.

Without trackers like this, it is currently difficult for patent developers to know which patents exist, and who owns them. And there is a huge volume to sort through—in 2013 so far, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has received around 10,000 applications per week.

Microsoft said it hopes that the launch of its patent tracker will inspire other companies to do the same, which could allow patent developers to focus more on innovation and less on defending litigation, Thomson Reuters reports.


Read more about patent trolls on InsideCounsel:

In-house counsel urge lawmakers to quell patent trolls with antitrust laws

IP: Federal Circuit weakens Internet patent troll model

Technology: Can you learn to love a troll?

IP: A boon for patent trolls

Patent trolls may have to pay legal costs

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