Re-Constructing Intellectual Property Law in a Knowledge Society
Edited by Thomas Riis
Chapter 6: IP coordination models: revealing some of the “magic” behind patent pools and clearinghouses?
In our global, heavily networked knowledge-based society the exchange, sharing and utilization of knowledge is increasingly important for promoting innovation. Within this context, patents may act as a barrier but also as a tool to enable the exchange and utilization of the underlying knowledge. Proponents of open innovationconsider patents as more than mere means for excluding others from using an organization’s ideas and technologies; patents are rather expected to play a key role as a means for transferring ideas and technologies from one entity to another. The growing need to facilitate the exploitation of patents has led to the rise of a “patent marketplace” where a variety of new entities focusing on patent-related transactions are emerging. Some specialized IP firms seek to monetize patents (e.g. Intellectual Ventures), or create strategic patent portfolios for licensing purposes (e.g. MPEG LA). Other companies offer an online marketplace where patents and ideas can be traded (e.g. NineSigma), or establish a co-operative venture that buys and licenses patents to its members for defensive purposes (e.g. RPX). Patent pools and clearinghouses operate in this evolving patent marketplace and are nowadays widely recognized as useful intellectual property (IP) coordination and exchange mechanisms for situations where a particular technology is burdened with a large number of fragmented IP rights. They are designed to offer a one-stop-shop to patented technologies for licensees while generating reasonable royalties for patent owners.
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