Wednesday, 2 August 2017
More Matchmaking: Aqua Licensing Offers Access to More than 60,000 Patents
In another attempt to create an efficient marketplace for patents, Aqua Licensing is offering access to a substantial portfolio of patents—“more than 60,000.” The patents are part of the portfolios of AT&T, Rambus, Lenovo and Entegris, among others. According to the Aqua Licensing website:
Startups submit business plans to the pool as they would to a venture capital investor, at which point the team of patent experts at AQUA identify IP assets that will improve the defensive position of the company and contribute to its long-term growth and value potential. When a match is made, the IP is offered to the startup in exchange for equity, rather than cash, as part of their next-round of financing. This structure enables the startup to secure the Strategic IP Investment from the technology leader prior to pricing the financing round, allowing the benefits of the secured IP and strategic investment to be reflected in the valuation of that round. In many cases this allow for an immediately accretive acquisition of assets.
This sounds similar to one of Google’s recent efforts. At least one study has shown that supposed patent trolls may target new companies near significant events such as IPOs. This type of portfolio may provide defensive protection against practicing entities—which is a valid concern, of course. According to Bloomberg BNA, Aqua’s program is closer to a marketplace because it can result in patent ownership.