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Traditionally, patent holders have used the licensing model to commercialize their patents. Patent licensing transactions can have many different bells and whistles, but at their core they usually contemplate a grant, to the licensee, of specified rights in the patents (e.g., to make, use and sell products covered by the patents) in return for a running royalty. In recent years, patent holders, particularly inventors and others who may own patents but do not have the financial wherewithal to aggressively enforce their patent rights, have been faced with a changing commercial environment, where patent assertion entities and others are taking advantage of a growing marketplace for patent assets by focusing on the outright purchase of patent portfolios.

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