A coalition of companies, including Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Uber Technologies Inc., is getting ready to buy an array of patents to defend against potential infringement suits.
Allied Security Trust (AST), a nonprofit group that buys patents to protect its members from infringement threats, said it will hold another fixed price patent buy in July.
The third round of group’s Industry Patent Purchase Program (IP3) will accept offers from sellers July 9 to July 20. Last year’s IP3 sold 70 patents for $2.5 million.
The program reveals what kind of technology the group’s 33 members want to use to protect their patent portfolios. This year, the program will look for patents in eight categories: artificial Intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, automotive, blockchain, internet-connected devices, smart home, software and communications.
Last year, the program sought patents on wireless, video distribution, networking, communications and internet-connected devices.
“There’s a lot of patents out there, but trying to make sure that we get sellers to provide good quality patents is always a challenge,” CEO of Allied Security Trust Russell Binns told Bloomberg Law.
Patent purchase programs attract high-quality patents that can help members to operate without the risk of infringement lawsuit threats, Binns said.
IP3 was modeled on a 2015 patent buying program launched by Google. In AST’s programs, sellers offer patents at take-it-or-leave-it fixed prices and agree to let all group members get a free license.
Open to Non-Members
Only members of AST could take part in the patent buying program last year. But non-members can join IP3 2018 if they pay a fixed management fee, Binns said.
“We want to give companies an opportunity to experience AST, get a flavor of AST -- and the hope would be they would stay on,” Binns said.
AST’s 33 members include Ford Motor Co., Motor Co. Ltd., IBM Corp., and Microsoft Corp., across industries such as information technology, semiconductors, automotive, health tech and social media.