PATENT / 08.10.2018

Microsoft joins LOT Network to combat ‘patent trolls’

Technology company Microsoft has joined the fight against “patent trolls” by signing up to the LOT Network.

The LOT Network is a “community of companies” that tackles the problem of trolls. Other members of the group include Google, Canon and Dropbox.

Once a member of the network has sold or transferred a patent to a troll, the other members of the community are then granted immunity from being sued by the troll over that patent.

Erich Andersen, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, said in a blog post yesterday, October 4, that the company has first-hand experience dealing with patent trolls.

“In the most extreme cases, we’ve seen mass mailings and campaigns to extract value from small businesses who are not equipped to understand patents,” he explained.

Andersen cited a previous study that said 40% of small companies involved in patent litigation reported a “significant operational impact” from lawsuits involving bad actors.

He explained that by joining the network, Microsoft is helping protect software developers from falling victim to patent trolls.

The technology company is aligning with other industry players to address “IP risk”, according to Andersen.

“By joining the LOT Network, we are committing to license our patents for free to other members if we ever transfer them to companies in the business of asserting patents,” he said.

“This pledge has immediate value to the nearly 300 members of the LOT community today, which covers approximately 1.35 million patents.”

In addition, Andersen said that this commitment is building on Microsoft’s Azure IP Advantageprogramme, which it introduced in 2017. The platform was designed to protect cloud-based innovations and investments against patent infringement claims.

Andersen said the benefits of patents are undermined “when the system is abused by opportunists pursuing needless litigation”.

“We all need to work together to prevent patent litigation abuse. We invite other companies to join the LOT Network,” he concluded.

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Microsoft, LOT Network, patent, patent trolls, IP protection, database, blog post, Google, Canon, Dropbox, Erich Andersen

Source: WIPR

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