Maybe you, like me, did not even know that universities are selling patents secured by their employee researchers to patent trolls. Maybe you did.
In either case, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is looking to curb this unproductive practice by harnessing the persuasive powers alumni. The EFF explains:
When universities invent, those inventions should benefit everyone. Unfortunately, they sometimes end up in the hands of patent trolls, companies that serve no purpose but to amass patents and demand money from other innovators and inventors.
Why are universities selling patents to trolls in the first place? Shouldn’t they sell their inventions to companies that will actually do something with them?
We’re asking universities across the country to protect their inventions from trolls by signing the Public Interest Patent Pledge. The PIPP is a promise that before selling or licensing its patents to a third party, a university will assess the business practices of that party and make sure that those parties will use those patents responsibly.
Any college or university in the U.S. can sign the pledge. Together, we can show that the education community cares about innovation.
Ask your university to sign the PIPP.
You can sign here.
As of this writing, some 1,400 individuals have already leant their names to the effort, including a half-dozen from my alma mater, Northeastern University.