I got word today of the launch of a new service called LegalForce. They’re creating an online marketplace for patents. They’ve also got something of a community-building idea for stakeholders in the patenting system, it appears. It ‘s a seed-funded company out of Palo Alto. They welcome inquiries from academics who wish to do research on their data set. Jim Moore — who thinks and works extensively on issues related to patents, software, and innovation — is saying very positive things about LegalForce and what its launch means.
This model makes me think of the argument that Kenneth Cukier put forward in The Economist (reg. req’d.) about a year ago, when he described the development of a market in patent rights — in Mr. Cukier’s view, a positive thing, on balance. A podcast/interview with Mr. Cukier on this argument is still up, and it seems even The Economist is willing to let you have these thoughts for “free.”
What does it mean? Surely it’s another sign — not unlike the PatentBoard’s section in the Wall Street Journal every Tuesday — that intellectual property rights have become an asset class.