Uber, the ride-hailing app, announced Tuesday (April 11) that it is getting into the patent-purchasing business, launching a patent purchase program dubbed UP3.
In a blog post announcing the new venture, Uber said inventors have the opportunity to make submissions through May 23, 2017. Sellers of patents have to provide patent family details and a price they are willing to accept for each family or portfolio, Uber said. Once the submission window closes, Uber will go over the submissions and provide sellers with decisions by July 7, 2017. For the patents Uber wants to purchase, deals will be completed by Aug. 22, 2017.
“It is a buying program intended to really eliminate the friction of the secondary patent market,” explained Uber’s Patent Transactions Lead Kurt Brasch in an interview with TechCrunch. “So the typical secondary patent market is challenging; valuations are difficult to identify for both buyers and sellers. Sellers tend to start out really high, and buyers tend to start out really low, and negotiations can take years instead of months. So what this program really does is smooth that out. The buyer, in this case Uber, gets one price from the seller — they have to give us one price they’re willing to sell for, no negotiations — and the seller gets speed to close.”
According to TechCrunch, Uber has participated in the IP3 patent program in the past, which was run by Allied Security Trust. This is different, because Uber is actually purchasing the patents as opposed to licensing the technology behind a patent.
The move is part of Uber’s overall mission to create its own IP portfolio, which also includes making business and in-house intellectual property development, TechCrunch reported. “We are very actively growing our portfolio,” Brasch continued. “We’re doing it organically through our engineering teams — and obviously that effort takes time — and we’re supplementing that with an acquisition team to basically buoy us in the near-term. It is part of our broader efforts to grow the portfolio going forward and protect our business.”