How are tech giants tackling the patent troll problem? Some are facing them head-on in litigation. Others are attempting to influence legislation that would neuter their effect. And then there’s Google, which has just announced that it will be trying a new tack: buying up all of the patents so that non-practicing entities (NPEs) can’t.
Google announced on its Public Policy Blog on April 27 that it would be launching the “Patent Purchase Promotion,” an experimental marketplace designed to give patent holders an easy way to sell their patents. From May 8 through May 22, Google says that the marketplace will allow patent holders to set their price. Then, Google will review all offers after the marketplace closes and let the patent holders know by June 26 if the company would like to make a deal.
“By simplifying the process and having a concentrated submission window, we can focus our efforts into quickly evaluating patent assets and getting responses back to potential sellers quickly,” Google deputy GC for patents Allen Lo wrote in a blog post. “Hopefully this will translate into better experiences for sellers, and remove the complications of working with entities such as patent trolls.”
The marketplace, Google says, intends to eliminate some of the friction that currently occurs in the secondary market for patents and protect original patent holders from patent trolls. Speaking with Wired, Kurt Brasch, a senior patent licensing manager at Google, says that the program is aimed at smaller companies, but individual patent holders are also encouraged to take part.
Although this is an experiment, Google says that it will be examining the process and the offered patents with grave seriousness.
“[P]lease make no mistake: Selling patents is a serious business,” Google writes on its website. “With this experiment, we are trying to simplify that process, but it is still a process that requires formal agreements that have real implications between you and Google.” Google also suggests that all participants in the marketplace consult with an attorney.
While Google hopes that the experiment “is a successful one,” it remains to be seen what becomes of the program. Will purchasing more patents truly hinder the trolls from calling? Only time will tell.