We’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Google, Asana, Canon, Newegg, and SAP to create the LOT network. LOT stands for License on Transfer, and is a group of companies working together to help stop patent trolls.
Patents were originally intended to motivate people to come up with new ideas. However, today they’re often abused to extort payment. Companies and third party patent trolls harass more than 100,000 companies each year, generating bills upwards of $29 billion.
LOT is a step towards tackling the growing patent troll problem. Here’s how it works: when a member of LOT sells a patent to a non-member, the other LOT members receive a license to that patent. This reduces the number of companies the buyer can sue for patent infringement, allowing companies like Dropbox to focus on building great products.
At Dropbox, we’re committed to fostering creativity and innovation both inside and outside the company. That’s why we support the open source community by using open source software internally, and why we encourage Dropbox employees to contribute to open source projects. It’s also why we’re proud to be a founding member of the LOT network.
Of course, LOT doesn’t fix the entire patent problem. That’s why it’s so disappointing that efforts at patent reform have stalled in Congress. However, we’ll keep fighting, and in the meantime we encourage other companies to join us — the more that join, the more effective LOT will be. If you’re interested in working with us, send us an email at LOT@dropbox.com.