Thursday 30 April 2015

Patent Trolls Have a New Competitor: Google’s Patent Purchase Promotion Program

In an apparent effort to “clear up the secondary market for patents,” Google has launched its Patent Purchase Promotion Program.  Google is offering to purchase your patents.  The details regarding the submission process are here.  The general timeline for the program is as follows:  

April 27, 2015 Patent Purchase Promotion is Announced

May 8 to May 22 Submission Window is Open

May 23 to June 26 Submission Review Period

By June 26 Parties notified either of our intent to move on to the next stage ( e.g ., some further diligence) or our intent to pass on the opportunity.

By July 8 Parties that are notified of Google’s tentative intent to purchase must supply further information to Google regarding encumbrances, litigation, etc. and provide a signed agreement, banking information, and relevant tax related information.

By July 22 Google will further review the additional materials provided. Assuming Google remains interested in completing the transaction upon review of the above material, Google will return a fully executed agreement within about 10 days of receipt (and no later than July 22, 2015) and payment will occur within 30 business days thereafter.

As recently discussed here, patent package sales are up.  However, Google only allows you to submit one patent at a time, but a party can make multiple submissions.  This, perhaps, allows the submitter to focus on the patents of value.  Indeed, the submitter must disclose the sales price up front and is essentially “locked in” to that price (at least, I think, as a ceiling).  If a sale is approved, the submitter retains a non-exclusive, fully paid up, non-transferable, non-assignable, non-sublicensable worldwide license to practice the invention.  The sales agreement is here.  The program currently only applies to U.S. patents.  A good idea?  Google does state that the program is an experiment--perhaps patents from other jurisdictions are next. For more commentary, see Corporate Counsel’s Lisa Shuchman’s article, “Google Wants to Outfox Trolls by Buying Up Patents” (April 28, 2015). 

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