When a business is finished with a patent or just needs some cash, it often winds up selling its intellectual property to a patent troll. With it, these "non-practicing entities" can then fire courtroom broadsides at outfits like Microsoft and Google in the hope of raising a quick buck. It's become so much of a problem that Google is hoping to tackle it simply by buying those patents before the trolls can get their hands on 'em.
The search engine's first crack at a solution is with the Patent Purchase Promotion, a web portal where sellers can audition their wares. Businesses (and individuals) are asked to enter the full details of each patent they own, along with a selling price they'd expect to receive should a transaction go through. Then, Google's representatives will examine the claims and give a yes or no answer depending on if it wants to buy.
For now, the company is labeling this as an experiment, and the first period for pitches runs between May 8th and May 22nd. Sellers will then be expected to wait until June 26th for any response, after which point they're free to go elsewhere. Of course, Google says that the move will "yield better, more immediate results for patent owners versus partnering with non-practicing entities." Roughly translated into English, that means that patent owners will get some much-needed cash and Google won't have to deal with a frivolous lawsuit in a few months.