Google Takes on Trolls With Patent Marketplace

The search giant's patent purchase promotion is "an experiment to remove friction from the patent market."
Matthew HellerApril 28, 2015
Google Takes on Trolls With Patent Marketplace

Google is trying to get a jump on patent trolls, inviting patent owners to submit their patents to an experimental marketplace for sale.

The search engine giant made its anti-troll intentions clear in a blog post announcing its new Patent Purchase Promotion as “an experiment to remove friction from the patent market.” From May 8 through May 22, patent owners will be able to tell Google about their patents — and the prices at which they would be willing to sell them.

“The usual patent marketplace can sometimes be challenging, especially for smaller participants who sometimes end up working with patent trolls,” Allen Lo, deputy general counsel for patents at Google, wrote in the post. “Then bad things happen, like lawsuits, lots of wasted effort, and generally bad karma. Rarely does this provide any meaningful benefit to the original patent owner.”

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Once the portal closes, Google will review the patent submissions and, if interested, make an offer to buy by June 26.

“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,” Lo said. “Hopefully this will translate into better experiences for sellers, and remove the complications of working with entities such as patent trolls.”

VentureBeat said, “Google is essentially making a bet: If the company can buy a bunch of patents before patent trolls do, it could save a lot of time and money.”

Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group technology research firm told NewsFactor that Google’s marketplace could give it “access to patents that impact companies they are litigating against in patent disputes, providing them with a far stronger defense. Google has been at a serious disadvantage against firms like Apple and Microsoft, which have massive, well-vetted patent portfolios.”

On the other hand, Enderle said, “it could make it appear Google is stealing patents if they don’t buy some that relate to some product they are building now or in the future.”