Taiwan vendors seek LTE patent pool

Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
15 Dec 2010

Taiwanese handset makers are calling for the LTE community to support a patent pool approach, rather than the bilateral and secret licensing agreements that are traditional in cellphones.

The manufacturers play a hugely important role in any device ecosystem and will enhance their place in the mobile world as a more open model, encompassing a wide range of wireless products, emerges.

But the vendors' margins are thin, and they are concerned at the potential level of patent royalties that could be payable in LTE.

According to DigiTimes, quoting local industry sources, the manufacturers are worried that, without a large patent pool supported by many of the IPR holders, the diversity of LTE patent ownership will make cross-licensing deals complex to negotiate and expensive to implement.

The threat of being charged with patent infringement will deter investment and innovation in LTE products, argue the vendors.

Three patent pool operators - Sisvel, VIA Licensing and MPEG LA - have been trying to attract sufficient large numbers of patent owners to gain critical mass, but none has succeeded yet. They claim to have signed up 32, 14 and five companies respectively and the third of the pools is expected to back away from LTE.

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