June 30, 2008
Patent Pool
Posted by Gordon Smith

The W$J has an interesting story today about the Allied Security Trust. A response to the recent explosion in patent litigation, the AST will "buy up key intellectual property before it falls into the hands of parties that could use it against them." More detail:

The new Allied Security Trust aims to buy patents that others might use to bring infringement claims against its members. Companies will pay roughly $250,000 to join the group and will each put about $5 million into escrow with the organization, to go toward future patent purchases....

TMC.net points out the irony of Verizon as a founding member of the AST, when Verizon sued Vonage (and others, it turns out) for patent infringement. Verizon won that lawsuit, by the way, and Vonage ultimately agree to pay Verizon $120 million. Obviously, Verizon would argue that the AST is designed to prevent unmeritorious litigation, and that seems fair. Still ...

UPDATE: In an unrelated story, GigaOM spots more irony, this time from AT&T.

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