Patent Strategies for Promoting Open Innovation
Creative Commons has a vision of creating an open innovation platform that promotes the creation and adoption of technologies that have the potential to solve important global or industry-wide challenges. Open innovation is characterized by leveraging knowledge shared across many participants in a market, including companies, individuals, suppliers, distributors, academia, and many others to solve common problems and to assist internal innovation.
Our goal is to encourage patent holders to make their patent portfolio available for licensing through public license offers that are offered to everyone on reasonable terms, while retaining the defensive benefits of patents. Many patent holders have patented inventions that could have broad or new applications in areas that they did not anticipate, but they may not have a strategy to actively license them or offer them for such uses. By making public license offers on reasonable terms, patent holders can encourage others to seek out novel uses, which can have important economic or environmental benefits.
To provide the maximum benefit, we propose the following principles for patent licenses:
1) the terms and conditions of the license should be made public and openly available for all to read;
2) the offer is valid and complete, so that anyone who can agree to it is empowered to accept without further negotiation.
Furthermore, we encourage patent owners to consider making their patents available for licensing without fee or only a nominal fee and with few or no field of use limitations. This allows the most broadly useful inventions to achieve high impact and find new, innovative uses.
Another important way to use patents to promote innovation is to free up researchers and scientists to perform basic research without fear of patent litigation. To this end, we are proposing a patent non-assertion statement that creates a voluntary research exemption, permitting non-profit research use by anyone. This can help to mitigate some of the effects of the narrowing of the “experimental use” exception by courts.
Based on these principles, we are working on a patent non-assertion and a model patent license that can be useful to initiatives such as GX, our initial program prototype.