Patent pool uncertainty looms over LTE roll out
August 02, 2010 // Peter Clarke
Three patent pool administration organizations are each trying to garner support from essential patent holders for the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for fourth generation of mobile and broadband communications.
However, the fact that all three groups are in play and that some companies have said they intend to act independently could create an expensive licensing environment that could hurt the roll out of LTE, according to one of the companies.
Sisvel Spa (Turin, Italy) began working with the companies creating the LTE standard in 2008 and responded to a request for information (RFI) from the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance issued in August 2009. Sisvel, originally formed in 1982 to extract the value from Italian television patents, also has experience in telecommunications. It announced a patent pool for the CDMA2000 3G standard, in June 2009. The NGMN Alliance is a group of about 60 network operators, technology vendors and research institutes and its RFI on LTE patent pooling was focused on an October 2009 deadline.
"Nine months on and there hasn't been a decision made," said Sean Corey, intellectual property counsel with Sisvel. Corey said that lack of a decision meant the overall situation "is still pretty uncertain," but he said he remains confident that Sisvel is in the lead in terms of putting together a critucal mass of patent holders.
Sisvel claims it is engaged with 32 companies holding LTE/SAE (service architecture evolution) patents, as it works toward forming the LTE/SAE patent pool. These companies represent over 60 percent of the essential LTE/SAE patents, based on declarations of essentiality to standardization bodies such as ETSI and TTA, Corey said. Corey would not name any of the 32 companies Sisvel is negotiating with at this time but Sisvel states that participants include device vendors, network equipment providers, and operators, consumer electronics and integrated circuit manufacturers, as well as research institutes, from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and North America.
Back in April 2008 a number of patent holders said they would support an LTE/SAE patent pool. The companies included Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NEC, NextWave Wireless, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks and Sony Ericsson, but not Qualcomm.
Meanwhile MPEG LA LLC (Denver, Colo.) and Via Licensing Corp. (San Francisco, Calif.) are also trying to put patent pools together. It is not clear whether that core group of holders is talking to any one of the three patent pool administrators – or all three.
Via Licensing, a subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, announced in February 2010 that 14 LTE patent owners from eight countries had met in San Francisco to build the framework for a joint patent licensing program to support the global adoption of the LTE standard. Via did not name its participants. Notably Via Licensing has also asked to be notified by holders of essential patents that cover technologies used in WiMax.
MPEG LA held its first meeting of essential LTE patent owners in Tokyo, Japan, in September 2009. At the meeting, 12 patent owners from five countries on three continents discussed the specific structure and terms of a patent pool for licensing patents that are essential to the LTE standards developed by 3GPP. Those patent owners included handset manufacturers, network equipment manufacturers, wireless carriers, chipmakers, and research institutions.
The situation is not necessarily going to resolve itself into a single patent pool, although that would be the ideal situation, said Sisvel's Corey. The clear benefit would lower transaction costs through a single process and payment system. However, in the reality it is a question of degree.
"It is impossible to know where all the patents are but we have identified more than 60 companies holding essential patents. It is a very large landscape and fragmented. If there was one major patent pool and a handful of individual companies to deal with, that would be possible. But signing license deals with 40 plus [entities] is not. A unified patent pool is best," said Corey.
A single patent pool would avoid the problem of multiple royalties which could drive up the cost of handsets and equipment. Many companies hold essential patents and have a high opinion of their worth. Companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Motorola will each typically expect to receive between 1.5 percent and 3.25 percent on the value of each LTE handset sold just for their essential royalties, said Corey in a slide presentation. Companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel, Huawei, ZTE and Vodafone also have their own expectations which can quickly lead to a double-digit percentage and market-inhibiting equipment cost.
Corey said there was no particular deadline to Sisvel's patent pooling effort but clearly as equipment starts to be rolled out, the possibility of patent infringement claims and the threat of unknown licensing costs would concern equipment makers and network operators, while patent holders – often the same companies – would be concerned that a failure to act could harm the value and enforceability of their patents.
"There's no deadline but time is a critical issue. They are still working on Release 9 at 3GPP. We think some time in 2011 for the launch of a pool. It depends in part on the group itself. The group needs to make compromises and come together," said Corey.
For further information: www.sisvel.com, www.vialicensing.com, www.mpegla.com, www.3gpp.org, www.ngmn.org.
"Future automotive applications need incredibly more computing power"
December 12, 2013
These days, the Autosar (Automotive Open System Architecture) development partnership celebrates its tenth anniversary. Launched ...
LCD TV technology evolution to see bright moves despite decline in global LCD TV shipments
European BLIM4SME project aims to further streamline Bluetooth Low Energy integration
Additive photolithographic process yields micro flex circuits with 5µm feature resolution
Flexible haptics and capacitive touch combo solution enables more intuitive interfaces
Bosch suggests cars to coast for fuel efficiency
December 11, 2013
With a package of relatively simple but coordinated measures, cars can raise their fuel efficiency. Automotive supplier Bosch ...
Europe is giving up on leading edge digital chip design
Design-free RF-based wireless charging redefines user experience
Electromobility, Formula One and the Fatal Consequences of Bad Software Design: The top ten stories of 2013
- UltraCMOS® Semiconductor Technology Platforms: A Rapid Advancement of Process & Manufacturing
- Managing Electrical Complexity with a Platform Level Approach and Systems Engineering
- 3mm × 3mm QFN IC Directly Monitors 0V to 80V Supplies
- Adaptive Cell Converter Topology Enables Constant Efficiency in PFC Applications
Interview"Future automotive applications need incredibly more computing power"
These days, the Autosar (Automotive Open System Architecture) development partnership celebrates its tenth anniversary. Launched with the goal to reduce the complexity of the heterogeneous software landscape ...
Filter WizardCheck out the Filter Wizard Series of articles by Filter Guru Kendall Castor-Perry which provide invaluable practical Analog Design guidelines.
Linear video channel
READER OFFERRead more
Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Ciseco has launched the Raspberry Pi ‘Wireless Inventors Kit’ (RasWIK), featuring 88 pieces to provide everything a Pi owner needs to follow a series of step-by-step projects or to create their own wireless devices, without the need for configuration or even writing code.
RasWIK has been designed to be highly accessible, demystifying the dark art of wireless and enabling anyone with basic computing skills to begin building wireless devices with a Raspberry Pi. You can create anything from a simple traffic light, to a battery monitor, or even a temperature gauge that sends data to the Xively IoT cloud so billions can access the data.This month, Ciseco is giving away twelve Raspberry Pi Wireless Inventors kits, worth £49.99 each for EETimes Europe's readers to win.
And the winners are...
In our previous reader offer, Farsens was giving away five kits for EEtimes Europe readers to evaluate its FenixVortex, Kineo and X1 wireless, battery free sensor tags.
Lucky winners include Mr A. Neil from the UK, Mr. E. Delvaux from Belgium, Mr Lengal from the Czech Republic, Mr H. Bijlsma from the Netherlands, and Mr G. Pfaff from Germany. All should be receiving their packages soon. Lets wish them some interesting findings with their projects.
December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974
Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.