Patents for Sale: Industry Group Connects IP Owners With Companies

In an endeavor that could prove to be an effective workaround for the headaches caused by patent reform, Allied Security Trust is launching an initiative to allow patent owners to sell their intellectual property to relevant companies in the technology and automotive sectors.

Have any extra patents lying around? This industry collective wants to buy them.

Allied Security Trust (AST), a nonprofit group with strong tech-industry backing, this week announced a new strategy to purchase old, out-of-use patents, which it will then offer up for potential sale to companies like Google, Adobe, Honda, and Verizon.

The Industry Patent Purchase Program (IP3), which was inspired by a similar endeavor launched by Google last year, effectively flips the recent line of thinking in the intellectual property sector on its head. In recent years, patents have gotten more attention as a tool for shaking down companies, leading to the rise of the derogatory term “patent trolls”, than they have as a way to protect innovation. The strategy appears to be a response to the rise of patent assertion entities, which have caused headaches for companies big and small.

It also comes at a time when patent reform legislation has again stalled in the Senate. The patent sale could provide a bit of respite for both sides of the equation.

Part of the problem is that the secondary market for selling patents is challenging. Sales are often mired in legal battles, and not generally done in the open. AST hopes its strategy will open things up a bit.

IP3—which is eyeing patents in the software, hardware, communications, enterprise computing, and automotive sectors—is intended to offer something of value to both sides of the equation, says AST CEO Russell Binns.

“Our IP3 program is a first of its kind industry program designed to give sellers an easy way to access the secondary market by streamlining the process of selling patents,” Binns said in a news release. “At the same time, it alleviates many of the problems associated with the secondary market by providing a safe, transparent and rapid process for all parties.”

If you’re a patent owner looking to jump in on the effort, you won’t have a lot of time to make up your mind; IP3 will open up to submissions, which include prices set by the patent owners, starting May 25 and ending June 8. Patent owners will find out if a member company is interested in such patents by July 29, and patent deals are expected to be completed by the end of September.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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