Google’s cross-licensing program “LOT” continues to grow and apparently now includes more than 300,000 patent properties.
LOT Network operates as a poison pill for patent rights. In particular, members agree to license their entire portfolio of patents to all other members. However, the license only becomes effective if the patent is transferred to a non-LOT member, such as a patent assertion entity.
For many major operating companies, the most dangerous new patents will likely come from the start-up world and so Google (and others) have been considering how get start-ups to join the network. The company’s most recent proposal is its “Patent Starter Program” where Google will give away patent two families to start-up companies who agree to join the LOT Network. http://www.google.com/patents/licensing/.
It will be interesting to watch as this development moves forward.