Google Offers Patents to Startups To Fight Patent Trolls

Startup tech companies face enough challenges without having to worry about being taken to court by patent trolls. That's why Google has launched a new Patent Starter Program aimed at helping young firms defend against potential intellectual property lawsuits.

Offered to the first 50 eligible startups or developers that sign up, the program will provide select companies with two patent families from Google's patent portfolio.

Google said the patents it provides to eligible companies will help for "defensive purposes" against so-called patent trolls, typically entities that don't make any products or services based on the patents they hold but use those patent rights to sue other companies for infringement. Should a program participant be sued by a troll, it could to countersue using the patent assets acquired from Google.

When Trolls Attack

"The world of patents can be very confusing, cumbersome and often distracting for startups," Google noted in the overview of its Patent Starter Program. "All too often these days, the first time a startup has to deal with a patent issue is when a patent troll attacks them."

Having at least a couple of patents in their portfolios also helps startup companies boost their credibility with prospective investors, according to Google. Companies selected by Google to participate in the program will be able to choose two patent families out of three to five assets selected by Google. The search giant will choose those assets based on the applying company's main business focus.

Program participants will also be able to browse Google's portfolio of non-organic patents -- meaning patents that were acquired, rather than developed in-house -- if they wish to purchase additional intellectual property. They will also gain a free, two-year membership in the LOT (License on Transfer) Network, an industry-led initiative to reduce the threat of patent trolls.


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