Heavies Joining Against Patent Suits?

Information technology giants are teaming up in defense against potential patent-infringement lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal said on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The companies plan to buy up key intellectual property before it falls into the hands of parties that could use it against them, the paper said.

The paper’s sources said the companies, which include Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Ericsson, are believed to have a joined a group calling itself the Allied Security Trust.

The companies will pay roughly $250,000 to join the group and will each put about $5 million into escrow with the organization to go toward future patent purchases, the paper said.

Verizon, Cisco and Google did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment. HP and Ericsson could not be reached for comment.

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