03/29/2013 04:14 pm ET

Google's Patent Pledge Says Tech Giant Won't Sue 'Unless First Attacked'

Google is aiming to fight back against so-called patent trolls, announcing Thursday on its Open Source blog that it's taking part in a self-designed Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge (OPN).

Going forward, this means that the company will take 10 of its patents and pledge "not to sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on [those] specified patents, unless first attacked." Google goes on to explain what it means by "first attacked": "The Pledge may be terminated, but only if a party brings a patent suit against Google products or services, or is directly profiting from such litigation."

The tech giant also says that it will expand the number of patents included in the pledge over time, and urges other tech companies to join in on the initiative. "We hope the OPN Pledge will serve as a model for the industry," the post says.

Patent spending at several large tech companies -- including Google and Apple -- overtook spending on research and development in 2011. That's bad for companies, bad for the economy and bad for users.

So what companies are likely to join Google's patent pledge? We've put together a gallery of five tech companies that may have a reason to join Google in its OPN.

5 Tech Behemoths That Might Join Google's Pledge