Why has discussion on the patent troll phenomenon taken on a bit of a true-believer tone? A case in point is a recent posting on the Cyber-Prof listserv, which is captioned "Private-Ordering Approaches to Patent System Issues-and Defensive Patent License Launch - Conference". It is authored by Jennifer Urban, here, who is the Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California-Berkeley. Let me bring the readers material portions of the post accompanying this notice.

“The current patent system poses a growing threat to innovators. Broad patents of often suspect quality can cripple legitimate competitors and prevent new entrants’ access to the marketplace. Patent trolls buy these broad patents and use them to threaten everyone from large companies to start-ups to municipalities and non-profits. 

The DPL Launch Conference will focus on innovative private-ordering solutions to address the patent threat issue. These solutions can go hand-in-hand with congressional or judicial reforms. … The conference will then feature and officially launch the Defensive Patent License (“DPL”). The DPL is a new legal mechanism designed to protect innovators by networking patents into powerful, mutually beneficial legal shields that are 100% committed to defending innovation and reducing patent litigation abuse.... 

Innovators who opt into the DPL network pledge to forgo any patent litigation against any other DPL user, except when asserting patents defensively. In return, they are eligible to receive royalty-free licenses from every other user’s portfolio. Anyone taking a license must promise to put all of her patents under the DPL. In the event that the patents are sold, DPL users must legally obligate the new owner to abide by prior DPLs. If one ceases offering one’s patents under the DPL, previous licensees keep their DPLs royalty-free, but the leaving user may have her licenses converted from royalty-free to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND) at the discretion of the remaining licensors. 

With a broad strong network of reliably defensive patents at their disposal, DPL users gain freedom to innovate. The DPL is also designed to help limit lawsuit risks from patent trolls, as trolls are unlikely to pursue acquisition and enforcement of patents that have been legally obligated to defensive use and licensed to DPL users on a royalty-free basis.”

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