Defense Play RPX, a defensive patent aggregator, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by Index Ventures with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Charles River Ventures participating. The company also raised an undisclosed Series A round of funding in September 2008 from Kleiner Perkins and and Charles River Ventures.
RPX first launched in November 2008 as a way to help companies defend themselves specifically against patent trolls (organizations that buy up patent portfolios with the express intention of forcing other companies to license those patents or face a lawsuit). RPX buys up its own patents, or strikes licensing deals on behalf of its members, and the charges companies $35,000 to $4.9 million a year for perpetual licenses to those patents. The deal is that if companies pay up, any patents in RPX’s portfolio can’t be used in litigation against a member company.
The company says that it has purchased nearly $90 million in patent rights in the mobile, Internet search, telecommunications, consumer electronics and RFID markets to date. RPX will use the funding to try to surpass its goal of acquiring $100 million in patents during its first year of operation, which means that the company has raised (via venture funding, debt, credit lines etc.) over $100 million. Not too shabby for a startup that launched during a recession.
RPX’s membership already includes many of the world’s largest technology companies, including HP, Nokia, Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, and Seiko-Epson.