Google and Intertrust have announced the creation of Patent Shield, which is designed to protect startups. Essentially, the exchange is access to a patent portfolio for an equity stake in the startup. It seems to put startups in the position of a much more resourced company with a portfolio of patents and presumably freedom to operate. This appears to be another attempt to get ahead of something like the patent troll problem; however, it seems to be aimed at patent demands from entities that are practicing not absolute non-practicing entities because the portfolio is supposed to provide leverage against the entity asserting infringement initially. Interestingly, this appears to be a great way for Google and Intertrust to find licensing partners for their patented technology without looking like a “bad guy” by operating through patent demand letters—let them come to us. Very clever. It also gives Intertrust the opportunity to offer its IP services to startups, and maybe a chance for additional investment/acquisition opportunities through notice about great new startups that have attracted the attention of established players in the market. Very, very clever. For more details, please see here.
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