Today Google announced a new initiative to try and keep patents out of the hands of patent trolls, entities whose only business is amassing intellectual property and filing lawsuits. Google is calling this new effort the Patent Purchase Promotion. Google is basically asking patent owners to trust them. The company has pledged in the past to only use its patents defensively, suing only if someone sues it first. Of course, a company’s stance on patents can shift over time as it moves from young disrupters to entrenched incumbents. 2015 could also be the year Congress takes action. Or not, knowing Congress.
Like many things Google does, this project is a sort of open beta. “We view this as an experiment,” Google wrote in the program’s FAQ. “We are looking for ways to help improve the patent landscape, and we hope that by removing some of the friction that exists in the secondary market for patents, this program might yield better, more immediate results for patent owners versus partnering with non-practicing entities.”
An experiment indeed. More info over at The Verge. Needless to say, if you are a small entity that has one or two patents and you’re looking for some quick revenue, this may be a good way to go. This is especially true if you want to ensure that your patents don’t end up in the hands of
patent trolls non-practicing entities. However, only time will tell how Google uses the patents in the future.
Here is the Announcement.