Google Patent Starter Program FAQs        Question:  Why is Google doing this?  Answer:  We are big fans of the ​ LOT Network​  program, which we think of as a great long­term  way to help fight against patent trolls.  So, encouraging smaller companies to join the LOT  Network is just something that we think makes great sense.  Further, being able to help  support smaller companies and developers by providing them patents with the expectation  that such companies and developers will grow and further contribute to a responsible patent  system seems like a pretty good idea to us.       Question:  What are the benefits to joining the LOT Network?  Answer:  Industry statistics show that almost 70% of patents litigated by patent trolls  originated with operating companies.  The LOT Network is an industry­led networked,  royalty­free patent cross licensing agreement for transferred patents. Under the LOT  Agreement, every company that participates grants a license to the other participants where  the license becomes effective only when patents are transferred to non­participants. The  bigger the network gets, the more protection the membership gets against future attacks from  patent trolls.  More information is available on the ​ LOT Network​  website.      Question:  How do you define startups or developers?  What if we have been in business for  5 years but are still between $500K ­ $20M in revenue?  Answer:  While the program is geared and targeted at newer companies and developers, the  only two criteria we are formally requiring are revenue (between $500K and $20M) and  similarity of business to Google (because we want to be sure that we have patents that are  relevant to prospective participants).  Ultimately, however, Google may refuse participation in  this program to any party for any reason (or no reason at all).      Question: What would the LOT membership fee be after the first two years?  Answer:  In working with the LOT Network on this Program, we are pleased that it has agreed  to waive its fees for the first two years to participants.  After those first two years, continued  participation will be at the then­existing rates set by the LOT Network.  Current fees start at  $1,500/year and go up to $20,000 depending on the size (measured in revenue) of the  member.     

  Question:  If we don’t want any of the patents that are “selected” for our consideration, can  ask for a new set to be created?  Answer:  No.  Because of the expected volume of interest in this program, we are not going to  be in a position to revisit our initial patent selection list with prospective participants.  It is for  this reason that it is very important that you take special care in filling out the initial interest  form from our ​ website​  and in describing the work of you company or firm.  We will do our best  in trying match you with appropriate assets, but we can make no representations.       Question:  What are the fees associated with owning a patent?  Will Google cover those  costs?  Answer:  There are many potential fees associated with owning a patent, notable of which are  patent maintenance fees that are paid by the patent owner to the U.S. Patent Office at various  points in the life of the patent.  Foreign patents may have similar costs.  Once Google has  transferred an asset to you, Google will NOT cover any costs or fees associated with the  patent asset and such assets will be transferred “as is.”  This means, for example, that if the  maintenance window for a particular asset is open (i.e., its maintenance fees have not yet  been paid), after transfer, the cost of maintenance will be born by you and not Google.        Question:  If we request to purchase patents from Google through the program, what will be  Google’s criteria for determining whether or not to sell and at what price?  Answer:  As part of this Program, participants will have access to part of Google’s portfolio  and may inquire of us regarding the potential purchase of any such assets.  Google will  respond to each request on a case­by­case basis and not every asset in our portfolio will be  available for sale (and, in fact, many might not be).        Question: What are the ramifications of leaving the program before the requested 2 years?  Answer:  If participants choose to leave the LOT Network, the 2 patent families that Google  transferred upon admittance to the program will revert back to Google and the participant will  no longer have access to the 3rd party tool to view potential assets to purchase.  Google is  not obligated to provide you with a license back to any acquired patent families in the case of  such a reversion.  No other penalties would apply.         

Question: Can we use acquired patents to sue someone else for patent infringement?  Answer:  It is our expectation that assets acquired under this program will ​ only​  be used for  defensive purposes (​ i.e.​ , if you are sued by someone first, then you would be free to  counter­asset for patent infringement with an acquired assets).  Beyond defensive purposes,  we are not looking to have acquired assets used to help folks sue others.  Accordingly, the  Patent Purchase Agreement on our ​ website​  (see Section 2.4) makes clear that if an acquiring  party attempts to a sue for patent infringement using an acquired asset for non­defensive  purposes, it will owe Google a material penalty (​ i.e.​ , one we hope is sufficient to deter such  action in the first place!).           

Google Patent Starter Program FAQs

originated with operating companies. ... Agreement, every company that participates grants a license to the other participants ... No other penalties would apply.

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