Report: Tech giants forming 'patent troll' alliance

Cisco, Google, Verizon and HP working companies to form the Allied Security Trust

Patent trolls beware: Some of the tech industry's biggest names are banding together to run you out of court.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, tech giants Cisco, Google, Verizon and HP are working with other companies to form the Allied Security Trust, a group that will buy intellectual property assets before they can be purchased by patent-holding firms. Companies will pay around US$250,000 to join the trust and will each deposit $5 million into a joint pool to purchase future patents for the trust, The Journal reports.

The tech and telecom industries have both been plagued in recent years by several patent suits filed by patent-holding companies that do not actually produce any of the technology whose rights they own. Because these companies often acquire patents for technologies years before any such technology can feasibly come to market, critics refer to them as "patent trolls" who they say are sponging off the work of other companies.

The most prominent such case involved a patent-holding company named NTP that successfully sued BlackBerry maker Research in Motion for infringing upon its patents for e-mail-to-mobile device technology. Just one year after RIM agreed to pay NTP a US$612.5 million settlement, NTP proceeded to sue Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA for infringing upon five of the same patents.

Earlier this year, patent-holding firm Minerva Industries filed suit against 33 different companies on the same day that the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted it a patent for "mobile entertainment and communication devices" that have "a cellular or satellite telephone capable of wireless communication with the Internet." In other words, Minerva sued every company major company involved in the design, production or sales of smartphones, including RIM, Apple, Motorola, Nokia, AT&T Mobility, Alltel and Samsung. Two months prior to the Minerva suit, Canadian wireless network vendor Wi-LAN sued Apple, Dell, HP and 19 others for allegedly infringing on its Wi-Fi technology patents.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Reed

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?