Frustration with the patent wars is spurring creative solutions that have trip wires for valuators
The technology patent war has been a catalyst for a new kind of innovation, one which can create some sticky valuation issues. April’s IP Value Wire described Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA) wherein the ownership rights in a patent are being structured so that the patents could only be used for defensive purposes (with numerous exceptions). In April, two Berkeley law professors revealed in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology their solution, the Defensive Patent License (DPL), a de facto association whose members pledge all of their patents to a collective: all members of the collective would have license to use any pledged patent; no member would be allowed to sue another member for infringement.
Add this to the ever-expanding lines of inquiry valuation analysts must pursue in valuing technology. Sorting ownership of IP rights (IPRs) is alone a complex task, as analysts review assignments, employment agreements, multi-exclusive licenses, etc. Valuators now, potentially, need to locate and assess a self-imposed limitation of those rights through the owner’s implementation of an IPA or DPL.