It seems to be hard these days to locate a patent-related story that doesn't contain some reference to patent trolls.
A few of our recent blog posts amply evidence that. For a discussion of what a patent troll exactly is and why trolls "are bad for business," please see our April 13 post entry.
In fact, readers can just google the term.
Actually, that above reference to the mega search engine company is purposeful, given recent news that Google says it may have an antidote to trolling behaviors -- such as demand threats made of small businesses that hold patents, litigation intended to bankrupt patent holders and so forth -- that threaten market stability and dampen the ardor of inventors to create useful products.
Google's alleged panacea to combat the trolls is the creation of a public marketplace called Patent Purchase Promotion through which inventors can directly submit their ideas to the search company.
As noted in a recent media account of the marketplace, Google is "offering to buy patents first before the trolls have a chance to snag them." Arguably, that will ensure continued innovation and benefit the economy by virtue of those patents going to a company that will use them. Trolls, conversely, buy patents merely to enforce their rights, not to put them to use for their intended purposes.
Is Google merely being altruistic, or does the company have other motives that drive its marketplace creation? Some critics argue, for instance, that patent submissions to the company (the marketplace will be open for business next month, for a two-week period) give Google a free and exclusive look at "what's out there" regarding technology, as well as insight into creators' views on what that technology is worth.
We'll let readers know how things unfold with the marketplace. Google states that it will notify patent holders whether it wants to buy their rights by June 26.
Source: Wired, "Google wants to buy your patent to keep it away from trolls," Davey Alba, April 27, 2015