Google launches Patent Purchase Promotion program

Still described as an "experiment" at this point in time, the hub is a bit of a spin on the countless cloud-based app stores popping up.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Google is making another move in its ongoing battle to defeat patent trolls once and for all.

The Internet giant unveiled its new Patent Purchase Promotion program on Monday.

Still described as an "experiment" at this point in time, the hub is a bit of a spin on the countless cloud-based app stores popping up. In this case, it's a digital marketplace for patents.

Allen Lo, deputy general counsel for patents at Google, explained in a blog post that the marketplace approach is meant to "remove the complications of working with entities such as patent trolls."

Lo elaborated:

Patent owners sell patents for numerous reasons (such as the need to raise money or changes in a company's business direction). Unfortunately, the usual patent marketplace can sometimes be challenging, especially for smaller participants who sometimes end up working with patent trolls. 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.

Of course, there is some fine print involved, Lo admitted. Many of those nitty gritty details listed on the program site cover what happens in the case Google actually does decide to proceed with the transaction.

For now, the application window will be open from May 8 to May 22. Google promised it will issue responses by June 26.

Google has been outspoken over the last few years in lambasting the growing number of "patent trolls" seeking and filing lawsuits left and right in the technology sector.

In 2013, the Internet giant published what it dubbed as its "Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge," drafted in the hopes that it would "serve as a model for companies wishing to put some of their patents into the service of open source."

Google unveiled the pledge with a starting base of 10 patents related to MapReduce (the proprietary forerunner to the open source Hadoop framework). Within months, the Mountain View, Calif.-based corporation is expanded the commitment to cover 79 patents related to data center management.

In July 2014, Google -- along with five other Silicon Valley giants -- banded together to launch the LOT (License on Transfer) Network, a consortium aiming to reduce the risk of and litigation itself related to "patent privateering."

At the time, the group cited there were more than 6,000 lawsuits filed in the United States in the last year by "non-practicing entities," which the group further defined as patent trolls.

Google also forged a new alliance with Verizon Wireless in December, hatching a long-term, cross-license agreement covering "a broad range of products and technologies."

Beyond the potential for growing the Android mobile operating system ecosystem even larger than it already is, the biggest objective for the more open relationship is to nix risks for future patent litigation.

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