A coalition of tech companies (Google, Canon, SAP, Newegg, Dropbox and Asana) recently announced a new private initiative to disarm patent trolls: the License on Transfer Network (LOT). This is essentially an extension of Google’s Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge (OPN) that I wrote about in my very first Patent Progress post last year.
In the OPN, every included patent carried a non-assertion pledge that traveled with it. Selling off the patent doesn’t remove the pledge. Once a patent is in the OPN, it’s in for good, meaning it can’t be used by patent trolls.
The LOT Network is a coalition of companies who have all agreed to one basic idea: if a company in the coalition sells a patent, all the other companies are automatically licensed to the patent.
This still allows any coalition member to sue another member directly for patent infringement. But they won’t privateer against each other, and even if their patents end up in trolls’ hands, every coalition member is protected.