Microsoft has joined the LOT Network, a non-profit community of companies that protects its members from costly patent assertion entity (PAE) litigation, the company announced late Thursday.
Members of the 300-strong network commit to combating the threat of “frivolous” litigation from PAEs, also known as patent trolls. PAEs acquire patents for the sole purpose of monetising them by suing other companies.
LOT Network was formed in 2014 by Canon, Red Hat, and Google. Its members, together, now hold some 1.35 million patent assets.
How Does the LOT Network Work?
The network functions as community by staying abreast of member’s patent assets. If one falls into the hands of a PAE, that member gives others in the community a free license to that patent asset – granting immunity against PAE litigation.
It is free to join for members with revenues of below $25 million annually.
LOT Network members can still use patents in all traditional manners, including through patent assertion, cross-licensing and selling, within and outside of the network.
To become a member of LOT Network, every member makes the same commitment and signs the same agreement.
Taking the Fight to Patent Trolls
“Developers tell us that they are concerned about the assertion of patents by companies who are not innovators, but instead pursue aggressive monetisation campaigns using tactics like e-mail spam and cold calls,” said Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, Microsoft, in a release on Thursday.
“Microsoft has one of the largest patent portfolios in the world,” said Ken Seddon, CEO of LOT Network. “We are excited Microsoft has joined our community. We believe their membership in LOT Network is yet another proof point that membership not only preserves the traditional uses of patents, but is the industry solution of choice for reducing risks and costs of PAEs.”
LOT Network members include Google, Canon, Red Hat, Facebook, JP Morgan Chase, Dropbox, SAP, Pure Storage, Ford, Tesla, Alibaba, and GM.