Google, SAP, Others Push Back Against Patent Trolls

Patent trolls are a nuisance to the technology industry -- and the judicial system. Now, industrial titans and technology startups alike are joining forces under the License of Transfer (LOT) Network banner in hopes of slashing patent troll litigation and stalling the growing practice of patent privateering.

Asana, Canon, Dropbox, Google, Newegg and SAP founded LOT to deal with patent trolls and patent privateering. Also known as patent assertion entities, patent trolls are people or companies that enforce patent rights and try to collect licensing fees -- though they donEUt actually manufacture products with the patents they hold. A patent privateer is an entity that uses a patent trollEUs intellectual property to attack other companies.

EUThe LOT Network is a sort of arms control for the patent world,EU said Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google. EUBy working together, we can cut down on patent litigation, allowing us to focus instead on building great products.EU

Why Now?

Patent trolls have long been a problem, so why is LOT forming now? One reason is because patent litigation reached an all-time high in 2013. The LOT reports over 6,000 lawsuits were filed -- and patent trolls filed most of them. RPX research reveals over 70 percent of the patents that trolls use come from patent privateers, who sell patents to trolls and then file lawsuits against target companies.

"We believe that patents should never be used to stifle innovation," said Brett Alten, IP Counsel at Dropbox. EUThe LOT network is a creative solution to fight patent abuse that becomes more effective with each company that joins. The more participants there are, the better off we'll all be.EU

HereEUs how it works: LOT member companies receive licenses when the patents are transferred out of the LOT group. Companies, then, preserve their right to enforce patents so long...

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