Excellent summary of patent aggregators AST and RPX

A recent article has much to say about non-practicing entities (NPEs). I have cherry picked from it and quoted several paragraphs.

“Some 20 of the 300 or so known NPEs appear to account for roughly half of all NPE-related litigations, according to intelligence from Patent Freedom (www.patentfreedom.com). In 2008 alone, some 900 operating companies were sued by NPEs.” The article does not mention the number of cases filed (See my post of Sept. 13, 2011: 550 cases in 2010 but no reference to the number of defendants.).

“Some estimates put the amount of capital flowing into NPE models over the past eight years to be between $6 billion and $8 billion. And clearly one aggregator, Intellectual Ventures, has raised massive amounts (reportedly US$5 billion). Others, such as Altitude Capital, Acacia, Techquity and Fortress Investments, are said to have tens of millions of dollars at the ready for patent buys.”

Allied Security Trust: “AST is a defensive-oriented, member-owned cooperative of high-tech operating companies that seek to provide a cost-efficient means of securing freedom of action (FOA) for its members. It operates on the basis of catch and release, never holding any IP for more than a year and always allowing members to opt in/out of AST bidding on portfolios (thereby ensuring that the member cash outlay is applied only to those portfolios truly of interest to that member). Members include, but are not limited to, Motorola, RIM, Ericsson, Philips, Intel, Verizon and Avaya.”

Rational Patent Exchange” “RPX is a for-profit defensive patent aggregator that has a centralized decision-making structure allowing it to make buy/no-buy decisions quickly, on behalf of its members and with a unique degree of deal flexibility. It generally, at least for now, aims to hold/aggregate the patents it acquires. Remarkably, every member receives a licence (term converting to perpetual) for everything RPX acquires, generally speaking. Members include, but are not limited to, IBM, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, LG, Panasonic, Coby Electronics and HTC.”

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