Hacking the Patent System: alternative patent licensing

The EFF has announced their participation in the launch of a new guide to alternative patent licensing.

The guide was prepared by the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property & Innovation Clinic at Stanford Law School in partnership with EFF, Engine, and the Open Invention Network (OIN).

Generally speaking, defensive aggregators use the pooled resources of member companies to purchase patents that may otherwise have been purchased by trolls. The guide discusses the business models, and suggests some pros and cons, of three defensive aggregators: Allied Security Trust, RPX, and Unified Patents.

Defensive patent licenses or pledges involve commitments to only use patents defensively. For example, the Defensive Patent License is akin to a non-aggression pact for patents: companies commit to never asserting any of their patents offensively against any other company that has also committed to the license. Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement takes a different approach. It involves a guarantee to employees that if they assign an invention to Twitter, the patent on that invention will not be used to sue anyone offensively without the inventor’s permission. The guide also discusses Google’s License on Transfer proposal and OIN.

You can download the 18 page PDF of the alternative patent licensing guide from the EFF.

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