updated 08:55 am EDT, Wed June 1, 2011
Microsoft joins alliance to nullify claims
Microsoft has joined the Litigation Avoidance alliance in order to help it shoot down patent trolls. Regardless of the merit of patent claims against it, it costs Microsoft substantial amounts of time and money in defending such claims. The Litigation Avoidance service is a global online community of 1 million scientists and technologists that uses crowdsourcing to share and compare notes to determine the validity of various claims.
Microsoft will pay an undisclosed fee to Article One Partners, who created the paid Litigation Avoidance service. A particular target of the service is non-practicing entities (NPE), more typically known in the blogosphere as patent trolls. NPEs are companies that buy up thousands of patents. They then use these as the basis of lawsuits against companies like Microsoft that an NPE claims have infringed on its patents. The aim is to use the patents to claim damages or license fees even though the company never intends on using the patents for any marketable product or service.
The goal is "to reduce risk and reduce potential litigation cost," said Bart Eppenauer, chief patent counsel at Microsoft. "NPEs continue to actively target large technology companies, and often with portfolios of questionable quality." [via Computerworld]