Recently, my colleagues and I wrote a client note on the processes and strategies for monetizing patent portfolios, Rembrandts in the Attic. But there’s another side to patent assertion that those looking to cash in may have to face—namely, a willingness to litigate and deal with the negative backlash legal action can entail.
Oftentimes, holders of large patent portfolios may not want to be seen in the market asserting their patents in their own name. They face the risk of being portrayed as unsavory patent trolls, especially if they are not actually using the patents. In some industries and in Silicon Valley generally to a degree, suing on patents is also regarded as déclassé. Additionally, suing in one’s own name raises the prospect of counterclaims accusing one’s own products of infringing upon adversaries’ patents.
For these and other reasons, it is increasingly common to assign patents to a special-purpose vehicle, which will conduct the licensing or litigation campaign without the original owner’s fingerprints. Use of such vehicles, however, presents a number of challenges—which my colleagues discuss in a recent note you can read here.