RPX, a San Francisco start-up, was recently launched with the intent of acquiring patents to shield technology companies from costly lawsuits. As The Wall Street Journal reports, RPX hopes to keep patents out of the hands of “patent trolls,” who obtain patents for the sole purpose of suing companies for royalties or licensing fees.
RPX is being financed by two venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Charles River Ventures. While RPX plans to sell membership fees based on a company’s yearly revenue, it is reported that they have already negotiated deals with IBM and Cisco Systems Inc.
So far, RPX has spent $40 million on 150 patents, and they currently have 60 more applications. However, some worry if this start-up is truly a worthwhile venture. RPX has reported that they plan on spending $100 million during their first 12 months, and quick math suggests they have spent roughly $190,000 on each patent they already own. With all of this money being thrown around, one may wonder if RPX will be out of money before they can put a sizeable dent in the patent troll problem.