Trend Micro Takes on ‘Patent Trolls’ Through LOT Network

Trend Micro is joining Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft in the fight against patent assertion entities, often referred to as "patent trolls," through the LOT Network.

Trend Micro, an Irving-based cybersecurity company, announced it’s taking a stand against patent trolls by joining the LOT Network—a nonprofit community of companies created to combat patent assertion entities (PAEs).

PAEs, otherwise known as “patent trolls,” operate under a business model based solely on asserting patent rights through legal action and seeking royalties or settlements from legitimate businesses.

LOT Network fights PAEs by granting patent licenses to all of its members if one of its members’ assets fall into the hands of a PAE. The move effectively makes the patent immune from PAE litigation while all traditional uses of the patent are retained by the original patent holder.

“Trend Micro has been able to offer industry leading protection for its global customers for over three decades thanks in a large part to the skill and expertise of its R&D team and the high quality of its intellectual property,” Felix Sterling, chief legal officer for Trend Micro, said in a statement. “By joining LOT Network today we’re taking a united stand against the patent trolls and passing on the protections we get through our membership to our customers. Their lawsuits drain tens of billions from the global economy and distract innovative companies like Trend Micro from the important task of serving their customers.”

Patent trolls are not a new phenomenon, but over the last ten years, PAE-driven lawsuits have increased by 500 percent. In those suits, fewer than one percent of defendants are found to be infringing on the plaintiff’s patent assertion, but more than 80 percent opt to settle before going to trial because of the legal costs.

Patent trolls have been viewed as a drain on innovation with the actual impact estimated at $211 million less spent on R&D by firms that end up paying a PAE, according to a statement.

LOT Network was founded in 2014 and has over 500 members including tech giants Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Cisco.

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