LG reignites IPR nerves surrounding LTE
Published: 12 December, 2008
The issue of patent royalties is an increasingly sensitive one for emerging standards - excessive IPR burden can wreck the economics of creating low cost devices, and patent litigation can delay uptake of a new system. LG caused a stir then - perhaps unwittingly - when it showed off the first LTE handset chip last week, and at the same time boasted of having 300 patents related to the technology.
The report, in Korea Times, caused ripples of nervousness because LG is not a participant in the patent pool that several large vendors formed last spring for LTE. The aim of this group is to create a cross-licensing framework, and sign up sufficient numbers of IPR holders, that it will achieve "fair and non-discriminatory pricing" amounting to a single digit percentage of the cost of a handset, and single digit dollars for a laptop, for all associated intellectual property, commented Arstechnica.
Patent pools are gaining in popularity as new standards emerge with ever larger numbers of patents involved, but with rising pressures to be cost effective. The WiMAX community created the Open Patent Alliance earlier this year, and this week, the IEEE standards body struck a two-year deal with Via Licensing, one of the most prominent patent pool administrators. This agreement will create one or more patent pools for key IEEE communications standards, including Wi-Fi. The standards group believes this will help drive its specifications into the market more quickly because vendors will have greater confidence that IPR licensing will be fair and patents declared upfront before standards find their way into commercial products.