Now the wireless industry has two patent pools for Long Term Evolution (LTE) since Sisvel SpA recently announced that it has launched its own, just one month after Via Licensing Corp. started the industry's first patent pool for the 4G standard.
The patent pool operator, which in 2011 bought 450 patents filed by Nokia (News - Alert), has announced that its pool will include patents from EADS, the China Academy of Telecommunication Technology, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ESRI), France Telecom, TDF (News - Alert), and KPN, as well as the patents originally filed by Nokia that Sisvel acquired.
The pool remains open to all companies that own essential LTE patents, and Sisvel continues to work with companies that have expressed interest in joining the group.
However, it puzzles many analysts as to how two patent pools related to the same standard are not as good as one patent pool. The number of patent holders on each of today's cellular standards is so high that some kind of aggregation is in the interest of patentees as well as licensees.
So far, key patent holders like Nokia, Ericsson and Qualcomm (News - Alert) have not joined an LTE patent pool, preferring to keep their powder dry for private licensing and subsequent litigation, while Via Licensing has 20 members including AT&T, Clearwire, Deutsche Telekom, DTVG Licensing, HP, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom (News - Alert), Telecom Italia, Telefónica, and ZTE Corporation.
SISVEL’s call is intended to lead to the creation of a joint licensing program to make LTE technology accessible to all users on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. Sisvel has significant experience arranging joint licensing programs in the field of mobile telecommunications technology, including programs based on the CDMA2000 and DVB-H standards.
Giustino de Sanctis, chief executive officer of Sisvel International, said that Sisvel's LTE pool represents tremendous value for licensees, and it is a great opportunity for companies advocating lower aggregate royalty rates for the benefit of the LTE industry to advance that position by participating in this joint effort rather than undertaking individual license negotiations.
Jean-Francois Bernard, licensing director of France Telecom (News - Alert), praised the new pool as a step forward that will benefit telecom manufacturers, operators, and consumers by establishing convenient access to essential LTE patents held by the pool and its members.
Edited by Brooke Neuman