Patent defense schemes seem to be everywhere these days. There’s Allied Security Trust (AST), a coalition of frequently sued companies that aims to pool resources to buy up patents that could be wielded in infringement suits. There’s Article One Partners, a company who goal is to “crowd source” the search for prior art and make money while eliminating bad patents. And there’s the more controversial RPX, whose CEO John Amster has ambitious plans to end the “NPE problem” altogether.

Less flashy, but in many ways more interesting, is PatentFreedom. For $25,000 a year—a small fraction of what the average patent litigation can cost–PatentFreedom offers operating companies access to exclusive research about the non-practicing entities using patents against them. PatentFreedom’s database contains information about more than 330 NPEs, which between them hold more than 23,000 U.S. patents and applications and are involved in more than 3,000 lawsuits–many of them sprawling multi-defendant affairs.

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