Domain registrar continues to apply for patents but hasn’t gone on the offensive yet.
Will GoDaddy’s patent strategy change now that it has taken an investment from three private equity giants?
It’s an important question for the domain name and web hosting industries because of the size of the company’s patent war chest.
A search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows 65 issued patents for The Go Daddy Group and close to 200 pending.
These patents cover a broad range of technologies and business processes, ranging from whois privacy services to domain name suggestion spinning and domain hijack protection.
But to date the company hasn’t sued any competitors for patent infringement.
Karl Fazio, Associate General Counsel – Patents for Go Daddy told Domain Name Wire that might not change despite the new investment by KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures.
“We do have plenty of patents in our portfolio that are powerful and could be monetized if we chose to do that,” he explained, but added that he’s not aware of any plans to go on the offense.
“The new partnership [investment] doesn’t change the fundamental principles of why you have a robust patent portfolio,” he said.
The patent portfolio protects the company’s products and gives it “room to operate”. A strong patent portfolio also discourages other companies from suing it for patent infringement.
One company has tried. In 2006 Web.com sued Go Daddy for patent infringement. The settlement in 2009 included a cross-licensing agreement of the companies’ patent portfolios. The lawsuit was settled before Web.com acquired both Register.com and Network Solutions.
Although Fazio is not aware of any plans to go on the offense, you shouldn’t expect the company’s patent filing machine to slow down any time soon.
“As we are developing new products and services we intend to aggressively protect in the patent space our new technology,” said Fazio.