E pluribus unum – the continuing evolution of patent pools

By Richard Lloyd

Patent pools have proliferated over the last 20 years, with varying degrees of success. Whether they can continue to solve some of the thorniest issues in the licensing market will determine their future

It has been more than 150 years since a gang of sewing machine inventors and manufacturers grouped their intellectual property together to form one of the first patent pools. That collaborative effort helped to bring an end to an IP crisis comparable to the recent smartphone litigation wars. The premise was simple: by pooling their intellectual property, the patent owners could provide potential licensees with an easy and relatively cheap way to license, while helping to promote widespread adoption of the technology.

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Issue 90