Better than one-in-four of the patents offered to Google for purchase as a result of its Patent Purchase Promotion in May were acquired by the search engine.
The only article we could find about IP buying experiment’s results appeared in IEEE Spectrum, which is published by a professional association of engineers. IP CloseUp has learned that IEEE Spectrum obtained the purchase data directly from Google. A Google search did not reveal other media coverage of the results.
The magazine article, “Google Tries to Keep Patents Out of the Hands of Trolls,” states that the search engine purchased 28% of the patents offered to it. This buy-rate seems high considering the poor quality of most patents being offered to most buyers. It is comparable to that of Intellectual Ventures in the early years (2003-2006) when it bought much of what it was shown, but typically at about $40,000 per patent.
“Google’s Patent Purchase Promotion,” reports IEEE Spectrum, “which the company says received ‘thousands’ of submissions during a three-week window [May 8 – May 27], may prompt similar experiments in keeping patents out of the hands of what it considers the bad guys of intellectual property.”
The experimental program was an attempt to intercept patents that individual inventors, operating companies, and others may have otherwise sold to organizations that don’t make products but rather use the patents to extract license fees from operating companies, which do… The program offered a chance for anybody to sell patents to Google “at a price set by the patent holder.”
“Google wound up buying 28 percent of the offered patents that it deemed relevant to its business, according to Kurt Brasch, the company’s senior product licensing manager,” reported the magazine.
The median price of the patents sold to Google, excluding those offered at US $1 billion or more, was $150,000, and the compant paid prices ranging from $3,000 to $250,000.
IP Watchdog and others are less certain about whether the program is designed to thwart trolls and enhance innovation, or to improve Google’s patent position.
The IEEE Spectrum article can be found here.
A summary of Google’s Patent Purchase Program can be found here.
Image source: IEEE Spectrum