Tech Companies Announce Plan to Defeat Patent Trolls

Google, Dropbox and Canon form "patent troll-slaying club."

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014  |  Updated 6:09 AM PDT
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Tech Companies Announce Plan to Defeat Patent Trolls

If you can't kill a troll, at least stop feeding him.

Google and other tech companies believe they've figured out a way to halt patent trolls, according to VICE.

"Patent trolls" are litigious creatures who buy "obscure" or otherwise-nebulous patents with the intent to then use the patents to sue established companies, thereby taking home a payout in the process.

Google, Canon, Dropbox and other companies -- some of whom have been the over 2,500 firms a year sued in this manner, a tenfold increase from 2004 -- have devised a "legal force field" to shield themselves from trolls.

It's called a "License on Transfer Network." Members of the network, upon selling a patent to anyone, cannot be sued for patent infringement because of a "royalty-free license" that's then extended to all members, VICE reported.

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