Monday, July 07, 2008

Tech Giants Band Together to Buy and Sell Patents [International]

About eight years ago, Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft exec started Intellectual Ventures, a company that amasses patents that it can then license. Several tech giants, including Nokia, Intel, Apple and Sony, invest money in the holding company’s war chest.

Now, several big tech companies are banding together in a slightly different patent-related venture. Verizon, Google and Cisco are among a group of companies joining up to defend themselves against patent-infringement suits by buying up patents before the so-called patent trolls get their hands on them.
Here’s how it works: The venture, called Allied Security Trust, buys patents that others might use to bring infringement claims against its members. Member companies will pay roughly $250,000 to join the group and will each put about $5 million into escrow with the organization, to go toward future patent purchases. Allied Security Trust will sell the patents they acquire after they’ve granted themselves a nonexclusive license to the underlying technology.

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