Patent litigations are drawn out and messy affairs. No company wants to be taken to courts regarding its patents. That is particularly true when you are a startup. Along the same, Google has announced the launch of PatentShield. As the name implies, this is something that will protect you from unnecessary patent litigations. However, you will have to part from some equity.
Google and Intertrust are attempting to give startups patent ownership by means of their own vast portfolio. This should make even the most established players think twice about bringing in court litigation against these startups as the patent in question belongs to none other than Google. And Intertrust of course, which is helping out by providing access to some of its own patents from media streaming, IoT, security etc.
Speaking on the topic, Allen Lo, Google’s Deputy General Counsel for patents said:
The program extends the array of initiatives Google has developed to help reduce frivolous litigation in the technology space.
Google has always shown interest in out companies where patents are involved. For instance, the company is part of the Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge, under which it has promised to not sue third parties that develop free or open source software that potentially infringed on a selection of its patents. Most of the patents under question are kind of old though, so the newer startups may or may not benefit from it.
Meanwhile, companies that do get accepted into the program, will have to provide a measure of equity to PatentShield. So, startup gets protection from the danger of being sued to the moon over the technology they are using, Google and Intertrust get equity in the company — which is as good as using the patent to develop products of their own — and everyone goes home happy. The size of the stakes aren’t fixed though, and will depend solely on the company and how far ir has gotten already,