A number of high-profile companies have combined to tackle the lack of transparency and clear information around who owns what in terms of patents and the protection of intellectual property.
Firms including IBM, Microsoft, ARM, BAE Systems, Shazam, Patent Properties, Conversant, Aistemos and Finjan have backed the Open Register of Patent Ownership (ORoPO), a group that describes itself as offering "a simple solution to significant problems with the accuracy of patent ownership records".
ORoPO provides an accessible database of patents and their owners that the company said can better inform individuals and companies about patent ownership.
"Uncertainty around patent ownership inflates transaction costs, discourages the monetisation of patent rights through licensing and innovation and holds back the evolution of intellectual property as a functioning asset class," said ORoPO chief executive Dr Roger Burt.
"Without clear line of sight to ownership, the markets simply will not engage."
Microsoft said that its presence on the database should "encourage innovation". "Microsoft believes that patent ownership transparency continues to be an important part of a well-functioning patent system," said Erich Andersen, vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft.
"Microsoft has publicly listed all the patents the company owns since March 2013, and we will continue to do so via our participation in ORoPO.
"This voluntary effort, led by top patenting companies, will help to ensure that the patent system continues to promote and encourage innovation across our economy."
Information about patent owmnership is currently scattered across 180 organisations, and estimates suggest that as much as a quarter of registrations include out of date or inaccurate information.
ORoPO could resolve many patent problems, according to Manny Schecter, chief patent counsel at IBM.
"ORoPO is a simple solution to a complex and long-standing problem. Greater transparency around patent ownership is vital to eliminating transactional inefficiencies and enabling a patent system that runs optimally for every constituent in the system, from patent owners to innovators, licensees and the public," he said.
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