Search engine giant Google has launched the new Patent Starter Program, as a part of its ongoing patent licensing initiative, inviting 50 tech startups to license patents from its vast portfolio in order to protect their businesses from lawsuits. More on the program after the break!
Under the Patent Starter Program, Google is inviting the first 50 eligible tech startups that sign up with it to license 2 patent families from its patent portfolio for free.
Apart from accessing Google’s patents, the companies will be obliged to sign-up for the License On Transfer (LOT) patent licensing program, in which member companies agree to license patents to the partners if they decide to sell the patent in question to non-participants, in order to protect the members from lawsuits.
The Patent Starter Program will also include access to Innography‘s patent search and analysis platform, which will let businesses search Google’s non-organic patent portfolio for assets that Google may be willing to sell.
The Fine Print
- The Google Patent Starter Program is open for the first 50 companies that sign-up and have 2014 revenues between $500,000 and $20,000,000.
- It is mandatory for companies to become a member of the License On Transfer program that includes members like Google, Canon, Dropbox and SAP. The LOT program is a royalty-free patent cross-licensing arrangement for transferred patents and currently covers more than 325,000 patent assets. Companies sign license agreements that get activated once the patents are transfered to a non-participant. Companies under the Patent Starter Program will not have to pay the LOT membership fee for first two years. After the first two years, members will have to pay membership fee that is set by the LOT network. Current fees start at $1,500 per year and go up to $20,000 per year depending on the size of the member.
- Members of the Patent Starter Program will get access to 2 Google patent families. Google will shortlist 3-5 families based on business focus and members can choose between them.
- Google will retain a broad, non-exclusive license for the divested patents.
- Members can only use the patents defensively and may not use them to file lawsuits against other companies.
- Members will have to remain a part of the Patent Starter Program and License On Transfer program for a minimum of 2 years. If a member decides to leave the programs before the 2 years are up, the patents received under the Patent Starter Program will be reverted back to Google.
- Members can use Innography to search Google’s non-organic patent portfolio. Google will decide whether to sell the assets if interest is expressed by members. The subscription fees for the software will be paid by Google. The email address given by members in the sign-up form will be used as the log-in to access the third party tool.
If you decide to participate in the program, Google strongly advices that you take legal advice before making a decision.
What are your thoughts on the Google Patent Starter Program? Tell us in the comments below.
This post was contributed by Abhishek Tiwari. The Intellogist blog and Intellogist are provided for free by Landon IP, which is a CPA Global company. Landon IP is a major provider of professional services meeting the needs of the IP community, including patent searches; analytics and technology consulting; patent, legal, and technical translations; and information research and retrieval.