LOT Network (License on Transfer) is a non-profit multi-industry community of companies. Three blockchain technology companies– Peer Mountain, MARKNetwork and IBISA- have joined LOT in their goal dedicated to protecting members against the threat of patent assertion entities (PAEs) – more commonly known as patent trolls. This was made known in a recent exclusive reveal.
LOT was formed in 2014 by Google, software maker Red Hat, and manufacturer Canon and now they have more than 400 members also include such household names as JPMorgan Chase, Ford, Microsoft, Tesla, Alibaba, and GM.
The new blockchain member companies have signed their participation; although these companies are startups, their commitment is significant to the fact that the technology is expected to become another patent battlefield, like the storied smartphone wars of the last decade.
Bitcoin inventor Craig Wright’s company nChain is one known example of a firm bringing together other blockchain and crypto patents as a potential business model. Wright is now popular from recent news for registering copyright on the Bitcoin white paper; he has amassed some 500 blockchain and crypto-related patents.
“Craig Wright’s lawyers are filing patents to basically put landmines in the technology roadmap waiting for the industry to come down his street so he can impose a tax,” said LOT CEO Ken Seddon, who’s seen this pattern play out in other industries. “It’s a shotgun approach: he is just going to sit there and speculate on all the possible paths and the possible forks the industry might take, sowing his seeds and waiting to collect his royalty checks.” Wright’s company has not given any further comments.
For LOT’s assembly of companies, when members join they sign a 10-page agreement which states that if their patents ever fall into the hands of a patent troll then the rest of the community members get an automatic and free license. LOT’s 430-strong community owns about 1.7 million patents collectively and they are making this exact same commitment to everybody else, according to Seddon. It was also pointed out they can definitely still defend their ideas with their patents in the traditional normal way of fair play among firms.
“It’s a license agreement or a contract and we are licensing each other to our patents,” he said. “It’s called an encumbrance in legal terms; we are attaching an encumbrance to this patent. So if I sell it to a [patent troll] they can’t come after you because you get to say, hold on, I have a license.”
Just as Wright has set the pace, it’s for LOT and its new members to follow suit as they want.
Credits – Ian Allison
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY