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Aqua Licensing patent pool program to help large firms sell off unwanted patents to start-ups in exchange for equity

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 9th, 2017

Aqua Licensing, a patent advisory and transaction firm, has launched a patent pool program that targets start-ups seeking defensive intellectual property, selling them that protection not for cash but for equity.

AT&T, computer company Lenovo Group, semiconductor technology licensors Entegris Inc. and Rambus Inc., and two undisclosed companies have agreed to pool over 60,000 patents in the “IP Investor Pool,” including automotive technologies, computer hardware, semiconductors, social networking and other innovations.

The new program benefits both sides. For start-ups, having a defensive patent portfolio protects against infringement lawsuits, while corporations are often looking to shed redundant, non-essential assets from their extensive patent portfolios.

Through the IP Investor Pool, a patent owner sets a patent’s value and then makes a sales agreement on the condition that the purchasing start-up raises funding from a venture firm within 90 days. The start-up is also required to reinvest those funds in equity to be held by the patent owner.

Aqua Licensing has begun soliciting business plans from start-ups to identify which patent holders’ portfolios are the best fit.

According to Mark McMillan, founder and managing director of Aqua Licensing, the program would enhance a start-up’s value in the eyes of venture capitalists because it guarantees that the start-up will acquire ownership of defensive patents once the VC investment is made.

“We’re looking to intersect these start-ups as they prepare for their next venture round and become an early participant in the next round through the placement of strategic intellectual property,” says McMillan.

Source: Bloomberg BNA

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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