Creating and maintaining a large patent portfolio is enormously expensive. In 2015, there were ~589,000 utility patent applications filed in the U.S. alone. If companies filed each of those applications in only three countries, the total cost would exceed $18 billion, plus the cost paid periodically to governments to maintain those patents.
The justification companies use for this massive investment is largely to support their freedom to pursue new markets and products worldwide without patent-related interference from other operating companies. Many refer to this as "freedom to operate."
The problem is the current model is very inefficient. Based on industry averages, only a small percentage of patents issued are useful to defend against patent assertions from other operating companies. This low yield is generally the result of an inability to predict, at the time an invention is created, whether it will ever be commercially deployed. Unfortunately, most are not, but the cost of creating and maintaining each patent is nonetheless significant.
Observing this, the founders of Provenance (Dan McCurdy, Tim Lynch, and Laura Quatela), each senior intellectual property and business executives in major corporations, collaborated with Nokia to develop a model through which operating company clients obtain enforcement rights to superior patents at a reasonable price only at the time — and for the term — they actually need them.
Provenance was subsequently formed to implement this model, and acquired its initial portfolio of approximately 4,500 patent families (12,000 patents and applications) from Nokia. Provenance is an independent company with no control by Nokia.
Provenance is based on a foundation of transparency. We believe decades of secrecy in the intellectual property industry has not been beneficial. We list our assets on TrustedPatents for all to access, along with potentially relevant companies and the associated products and services. Our Patent Maps are publicly available and identified as not being an assertion or notice of patent infringement, and not intended to identify a particular product or person.
Provenance does not assert its assets, and plans to remain an entirely defensive organization. When we have assets that do not fit our model, we will sell them in a competitive and transparent manner, accepting the best cash offer.