Stop Patent Troll Armageddon: Use Defensive Aggregators

AuthorKent Richardson - Erik Oliver
PositionKent Richardson is a partner at Richardson Oliver Law Group. He counsels clients on a variety of patent and business matters, including patent buying, selling, licensing, valuation, prosecution, and operations. Kent can be reached at Erik Oliver is a partner at Richardson Oliver Law Group LLP in California's Silicon ...
Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 9, Number 4, a publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL), ©2017 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This
information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
No company looks forward to receiving a patent
infringement threat or being sued; litigation is a
costly and distracting part of being a products or
services company, regardless of company size. Patent troll or
nonpracticing entity (NPE) litigation is a relatively new and
disproportionately expensive cost. We are often asked by our
clients to help them gure out how to respond to NPE threats
and litigations, both anticipated and actual. At least part of
that solution exists with defensive aggregators, companies
whose goal is to end or reduce NPE threats. Defensive aggre-
gators are a cost-effective strategy for dealing with NPEs and
one your management will want to learn about and discuss.
Below is a brief primer on the subject.
Defensive aggregators are special purpose compa-
nies focused on helping operating companies reduce NPE
Stop Patent Troll
Use Defensive Aggregators
By Kent Richardson and Erik Oliver
risk. Historically, the advantage NPEs have had is that they
attacked companies individually. Defensive aggregators turn
the tables on NPEs by aggregating resources. By dividing the
costs of the NPE problem across their members, defensive
aggregators allow companies to share the costs of a patent
acquisition, license right acquisition, or patent challenge for
NPE-held patents. We compare the available solutions to help
companies select the options that best work for them.
In the remainder of this article, we present a framework for
modeling and selecting the appropriate defensive aggregators for
your company (see g. 1). First, however, we explore the NPE
problem in greater detail. Then we discuss the different defen-
sive aggregator business models and roles. We then walk through
the aggregator selection framework, and conclude by showing
how the model would apply to several sample companies.
Figure 1: Defensive Aggregator Modeling and Selection Process
Those Risks
Assign Value
to Aggregator
Mix Addressing
Problem Cost
Identify NPE Risks
(now, in 3 years, in 5 years)
(sophistication, sources,
tech areas, seller types)

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