The technology sector has long been regarded as a crucial engine of American innovation, but many fear that recent intellectual property disputes could compromise industry progress. In an effort to bring sanity and civility to the patent litigation landscape, professors Jason Schulz and Jennifer Urban from the University of California - Berkeley recently outlined a new approach to addressing stakeholder concerns.
The team's idea is a simple premise that could have a major impact. According to BGR, the duo's new Defensive Patent License (DPL) framework essentially creates a safe space for companies to freely use each other's patented innovations under the condition that they agree not to sue each other in the future. Not only will the two companies have access to the other's inventions, but intellectual property contributed by other firms participating in the DPL system as well.
Membership dues for this exclusive community are paid in intellectual assets. Participants must agree to offer their entire intellectual property portfolios to the project, according to BGR, and can only sell their patents to buyers who agree to DPL terms. Members must also give six months' notice to all members prior to leaving the working group.
This "tactical disarmament" strategy could be especially attractive to smaller firms, according to the Verge, but there seems to be little incentive for true tech giants such as Microsoft or Google to commit the full extent of their intellectual assets toward the cause. But as organizers contend, the all-or-nothing clause guards against members disclosing only their least valuable inventions and profiting from the best work of their DPL colleagues.