Mark Anderson, Google’s Patent Purchase Agreement, and Public Shaming

If you wish to witness an old-fashioned beatdown, scurry over to the IP Draughts corner of the marketplace of ideas to see Mark Anderson dismantle—Marquess of Queensbury rules!—a Google patent purchase agreement (here).

I too am prone to meting out vigilante justice. Go here for my analysis of another Google contract, a services agreement. But it’s a model of professionalism compared to the contract Mark looked at.

Whenever I’ve prepared this sort of analysis of a company template, before making it public I’ve attempted to contact an appropriate person at the company in question. My goal isn’t public shaming, but simply to explore why company templates are the way they are. And the most obvious people with whom to start that conversation are those responsible for a given contract.

But so far, I’ve never received a response to my overtures. I have no right to expect that busy in-house counsel at big companies will give me the time of day. But if you refuse even to acknowledge my attempts to contact you, you can’t fault me for assuming that you’re shunning me for having the temerity to question your work. And you can’t be surprised if instead of shelving my analysis I look to initiate a broader conversation with my readers.

So if I contact your about one of your contracts, why not respond?

 

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.