SAN FRANCISCO, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Unified Patents announces its collaborative deterrence strategy to help large and small companies protect their most important products and services from Non-Practicing-Entities (often called 'patent trolls'). An NPE is often defined as a company or individual that owns patents but does not use those patents to produce goods or services. Rather, an NPE generates revenue by asserting or litigating its patents against operating companies. Unified Patents attacks NPEs one technology at a time by grouping startups, small and medium-sized businesses, and large companies in protected technology segments, called Micro-Pools, and then fiercely protects each Micro-Pool from NPE encroachment. Founding members in Unified Patents include technology leaders Google and NetApp. A Boston University School of Law study put the cost of NPE activity at $29 billion in legal fees and settlement costs in 2011 alone. NPE data provided by Patent Freedom shows that patent lawsuits involving NPEs have increased dramatically over the last five years from 521 cases in 2007 to a high of 2,923 cases in 2012. For Micro-Pool-protected technologies, Unified Patents wants to reverse these problematic trends using deterrence (i.e., making a protected technology less accessible to NPE activity than an unprotected technology). Unified Patents competes head-to-head against NPEs trying to purchase patents in a protected technology. By combining patent acquisitions with other efforts, such as reexamination proceedings before the USPTO, Unified Patents takes the fight to the NPEs to deter them from attacking a protected technology. Small companies typically lack sufficient resources to adequately address NPE activity but the Boston University study found that 82% of companies sued by NPEs make under $100M in revenue. Unified Patents uniquely incentivizes participation by these companies, which allows Unified Patents to better protect a Micro-Pool as a whole. By partnering companies of all sizes, Micro-Pools can help make defensive collaboration much more effective by reducing the number of easy targets vulnerable to NPEs. Unified Patents' first two Micro-Pools cover Mobile Payments and Cloud Storage but the company has dozens of technologies identified for potential Micro-Pool protection.