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Tech giants, in effort to fight off trolls, to sell $350M worth of patents

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In its ongoing effort to battle “patent trolls,” a group comprised of several tech industry heavyweights including Avaya, Google and IBM is selling a $350 million collection of patents and patent applications it purchased earlier this year.

The entire portfolio, which includes some 400 patent assets, will be sold during a live telephone interview to be held Jan. 21, 2014.

The seller, Bridge Crossing LLC, is an affiliate of Allied Security Trust, a so-called "defensive patent organization" based in Lambertville. The organization is made up of 26 member organizations from around the world, led by mobile chip maker ARM.

AST was formed as a reaction to the "patent troll" phenomenon in which shell companies are created to purchase patents only to then sue developers or manufacturers that make any similar technologies.

To combat that, AST purchases patents using funds pooled by its members, grants licenses for those patents to those members so they can make use of the technology and then puts those patents back on the market.

"We paid $350 million to purchase these patents together with rights to patents retained by MIPS Technologies," said Dan McCurdy, CEO of AST and Bridge Crossing. "We believe there will be many other companies worldwide that will have an interest in the patents owned by Bridge Crossing."

Interested bidders must register for the live auction by Jan. 14, 2014, and the winner will be required to close not later than Jan. 31. To register, contact Linda Biel, AST's senior vice president for business development, at libel@ast1.com.

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson is a staff reporter covering midsized and growth companies, as well as women in business. Mary lived in Fla., Texas, Conn. and N.Y. before moving to N.J. with her husband and infant son. Email her at maryj@njbiz.com. She is @mjohns422 on Twitter. Read her blog, Breaking Glass.

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