Sunday, June 8, 2008

WiMAX Vendors Form Open Patent Alliance

Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Clearwire, Intel, Samsung Electronics and Sprint have launched a new Open Patent Alliance (OPA) to advance a competitive and open intellectual property rights model for the industry. The companies hope to spur innovation through broader choice and lower equipment and service costs for WiMAX technology, devices and applications globally.

The Open Patent Alliance will form a WiMAX patent pool to help participating companies obtain access to patent licenses from patent owners at a predictable cost. The patent pool will aggregate essential patent rights needed to implement the WiMAX standard as defined by the WiMAX Forum and the IEEE 802.16e standard. To help ensure product differentiation and interoperability at a more predictable cost, this approach will focus on providing a more competitive royalty structure by charging only for the features required to develop WiMAX products. The patent pool will incorporate a variety of royalty licensing solutions, including accounting for cross-licensing among individual members within the pool.

The OPA said it plans to issue a call for WiMAX essential patents for inclusion in its patent pool. An independent third-party reviewer will serve as the "patent referee" and will evaluate submitted patents to determine how essential they are to the WiMAX standard and WiMAX Forum profiles. While the OPA initially will focus its efforts on the WiMAX standard, it may work with other industry groups in the future.

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