Did you know that patent litigation has cost companies around the world about $13 billion in defense expenses and settlements last year? That number is up from $5 billion in 2008. And something needs to be done about it.

Fortunately, RPX Corporation, a provider of patent risk management solutions, has launched RPX Search, the first search engine to provide public access to a complete database that connects patent, litigation, and entity data.

Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, any company can search RPX’s proprietary database for patents related to litigations, look up co-defendants in a patent litigation, understand litigation campaigns, and create alerts to assess the potential risk from patent trolls.

“When we founded RPX six years ago, we started gathering, indexing and correlating all patent-related data in the belief that every company should have this information at their fingertips to guide their patent strategy decisions,” said John A. Amster, CEO and co-founder of RPX, in a statement.

Since its founding in 2008, RPX has introduced efficiency to the patent market by providing an alternative to litigation. The San Francisco-based company’s approach combines principal capital, patent expertise, and client contributions to generate enhanced patent buying power.  RPX Search provides companies with access to all U.S. patents and applications, every patent litigation filed in a U.S. district court since 2000, and all patent owners and parties in litigations in a searchable database. Further, the search engine allows users to research current and past patent market data to better understand their patent risk. 

“More transparency of data should lead to lower legal and other transaction costs in the patent market,” said Amster.

In fact, as of March 31, RPX invested over $810 million to acquire more than 4,300 U.S. and international patent assets on behalf of the 178 members of its client network in seven key sectors, including consumer electronics, E-commerce and software, financial services, media content and distribution, mobile communications and devices, networking, and semiconductors.

For more on patent trolls, check out these articles:

Alleged patent troll claims it owns podcasting

DuPont supports the role of patents in innovation

Igniting innovation in utilizing patent assets

Apple-Samsung patent dispute trial continues