While we at ipnexus.com are fans, the jury appears to be out on Google’s new Patent Purchase Promotion. If you are not familiar with this particular Google project, in a nutshell, Google is offering to review your patents with a view to purchasing them if you submit them between May 8 and May 22, 2015. You set your own patent price for Google to accept or reject, with the transaction process intended to take only a couple of months.
Positioned as a creative, experimental and positive step in thwarting the march of the patent trolls, some would like more reassurance that the tech behemoth is not simply looking to its own ends by seeking valuable data or stockpiling useful patents.
As is usual, it seems likely that Google’s motivation stems from a combination of several factors and these will include the potential knock-on benefits and an eye firmly focused on their own bottom line. It seems equally likely that Google also has a genuine desire to see inventors and other IP owners monetize their patents in a more liquid and transparent marketplace — a worthy goal and one of our own core founding principles.
Should you submit your patents to Google?
Just how much potential the promotion offers for individual inventors to sell patents to Google is anyone’s guess. Even Google is embracing a ‘wait and see’ approach at this early stage according to their Q&A. Regardless, a chance to get their patents and names in front Google is likely to prove reason enough for many IP owners to submit their patents for review.
What do you need to know?
A first step is to have some understanding of the market value of your patent. This is important, as you have only a short window to fix your price. Also, the short payment window, together with Google’s exclusivity during the offer period, means you will not have an opportunity to approach other buyers. Ideally, you will already have an idea of the value you place on your patent. If not, you may want to consult an attorney or other expert who can advise in this area.
Secondly, as with any such submission, do check the small print, preferably with the assistance of a qualified lawyer. Some commentators have raised questions about Clause 4 in Google’s Patent Offer Submission form, and the various possible interpretations that can be applied to that provision. It seems very possible that a court would take a narrow view of the waiver provisions in Clause 4; however, a qualified intellectual property lawyer will help clarify any potential issues and assist you in understanding whether the terms and the offer in general are the right fit for your patent and business goals.