Conversant is pleased to be one of a group of leaders in intellectual property and open data that have contributed to the newly launched ORoPO (www.oropo.net), the world’s first Open Register of Patent Ownership. ORoPO aims to provide an open data register of patents, accessible to all at no cost. Voluntary, non-profit-making, and freely accessible online, ORoPO offers a simple solution to significant problems with the accuracy of current patent ownership records. Today, information as to who owns the world’s patents is recorded at 180 patent offices worldwide. But a combination of data entry and translation errors, a lack of corporate naming harmonization, delays by certain patent offices to register assignments and the absence of regulation mandating that changes in ownership be recorded means that an estimated 25% of this information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date. This situation has created unclear lines of sight to ownership of patent assets, which many in the patent profession would argue retards evolution and efficient operation of the patent asset marketplace. For example, if a patent owner and a potential patent licensee want to enter into negotiations regarding the patent owner’s patent, certainly a prerequisite for the prospective patent licensee to agree to enter into any serious, in detail discussions should be that he can satisfy himself that the patent owner does indeed own that patent.
The economic benefit of clearing of the lines of sight to ownership of patent assets has been studied in a survey and a report commissioned by ORoPO: “Who Owns the World’s Patents?”
When ORoPO’s patent database comes on line soon it will include details of patents owned by Conversant and ORoPO’s other founder members – IBM, Microsoft, ARM, BAE Systems, Shazam, Patent Properties, and Finjan. As more companies join ORoPO its registry of patent ownership will become an even more invaluable resource.
Transparency of patent ownership is a fundamental basis of responsible patent licensing, as stated in the first of Conversant’s Patent Licensing Principles. We are pleased to be a part of ORoPO and we believe it will unquestionably benefit those companies which support and encourage ethical patent licensing.