The patent marks that put your competitors on notice have been hiding some untapped potential.
VMarked (VMarked, LLC), an online provider of virtual patent marking solutions, is now giving its customers a new way to use their patent marks to tap into the licensing potential of their patent portfolios, enabling these patent-holders to realize a greater return in their intellectual property investment.
VMarked announced the news about the feature, referred to as a Licensable Patent Indicator, in a blog post this week.
The system allows users to designate patents as being licensable. These patents will appear with an icon indicating that a license is available. When a visitor to the site clicks on the icon, they are presented with information about the license: basic license terms, who to contact for the license, and how to contact them.
This feature allows VMarked’s customers to reach potential licensees who are most likely to have an interest in taking a license.
In a typical scenario, a VMarked customer sells a virtually-marked product, meaning that the product is marked with “patent” and a URL instead of a list of patent numbers. A third party discovers the product and the virtual patent marking and visits the URL to learn more about how the product is patented. This third party is likely doing so because they plan to launch a product with similar features and they are assessing their risk. Before now, when the third party would see that the product is covered by a patent of particular concern, they would likely begin to consider options such as trying to design around or invalidate the patent. However, with VMarked’s new Licensable Patent Indicator in place, they now immediately know that they have the option of licensing the patent because they can readily see that a license is available and they can see the standard license terms. This eases the path to taking a license rather than investing resources in trying to avoid or invalidate the patent.
It’s true that not all patent holders are open to licensing their patents. VMarked makes the Licensable Patent Indicator optional for each individual patent, so customers can decide on a patent-by-patent basis whether they would be willing to agree to a license. They also have the option of designating a patent as licensable without presenting any of the license terms. For many companies that have been looking for new, low-risk ways to reach out to potential licensees, this new Licensable Patent Indicator feature is a welcome innovation.