The Resurgence of Patent Pools in Today’s Marketplace—Part 1

Published on 27 Feb, 2017

Professor Sir Robin Jacob, IP Hall of fame inductee – 2006, and former judge in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, once remarked that every patentee of a major invention is likely to come up with alleged improvements to their invention and thus it is in the very nature of the patent system itself that patent thickets should happen.

And it always has.

These patent thickets form an overlapping set of patent rights that necessitates innovators to barter licensing deals with multiple sources. Although such situations pose multiple market entry and technology assimilation barriers, free markets have often found ways to circumvent them.

Patent pools are one of the many ways to get around these thickets, and 2016 saw a resurgence of this notion in both the markets and mainstream media. Standards bodies, corporate patent pools, and even some backed by the United Nations saw an upsurge in the number of participating members over 2016.

Among the several pools that emerged or grew stronger last year, three have set themselves apart in the potential they have to revolutionize our everyday lives in the not-too-distant future. 

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