If you are a startup tech company, patent trolls may easily be your worst enemies. That’s why Google has launched a new Patent Starter Program aimed at helping young firms defend against potential intellectual property lawsuits.
“The world of patents can be very confusing, cumbersome and often distracting for startups. All too often these days, the first time a startup has to deal with a patent issue is when a patent troll attacks them,” Google said in a statement.
These barriers are the impetus behind their newly developed program, which offers 50 eligible startups or developers that sign up, with two patent families from Google’s patent portfolio.
Virtual Robin Hood Against Patent Trolls
Mentioning the legendary story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin starting Google in Susan Wojcicki’s garage, the tech-giant said the initiative aims at supporting the startup culture: “the great ideas, the passion and the long hours that develop them, and the resulting innovation and technology that ends up benefiting the whole world”.
Google said the patents it provides to eligible companies will help for “defensive purposes” against so-called patent trolls, usually a person or company that do not manufacture products or supply services, but use patent rights to sue other firms for infringement. Startups will also look more credible with prospective investors with a couple of patents in their portfolio, Google said.
How can a startup be eligible?
Two conditions have been laid down for a company to join and ask for the license from this program.
The first rule concerns revenue, which must be between $500,000 and $20 million. The second is a similarity of business to Google. In this way, Google wants to be sure that patents are relevant to prospective participants.
What are the benefits?
If your startup gets selected you will receive 2 patent families from Google’s patent portfolio, and have the chance to browse the company’s portfolio of non-organic patents if you wish to purchase additional intellectual property.
You would also gain a free, two-year membership in the LOT (License on Transfer) Network, an industry-led initiative to reduce the threat of patent trolls. This safety web grows more powerful and effective with each company that joins.
What do you think of Google’s initiative against patent trolls? Share your opinion in the comments section below.