Patent pool trend even spreads to CDMA2000
Published: 16 June, 2009
READ MORE: CDMA
Patent pools are becoming increasingly accepted in the cellular industry, as a means of making IPR licensing fees consistent and transparent. But while WiMAX, Wi-Fi and LTE all boast pools, few expected to see one in the CDMA space, where lead vendor Qualcomm has always steered clear of this approach, hanging onto its own licensing policies.
Undeterred, patent management firm Sisvel has launched a patent pool for a collection of CDMA2000 patents. These do not belong to Qualcomm - the owner of the lion's share of IPR in this technology - but are mainly held by operators (France Telecom, NTT DoCoMo and KPN) plus Siemens. Sisvel said that the royalty for all included functions under any license will be five US cents per patent family per unit. This goes up to a cap of 50 cents per unit for products that include the 1xRTT air interface but have no EV-DO functionality, and a cap of $1 per unit for products that include the EV-DO air interface.
As it stands, this initiative is unlikely to revolutionize CDMA pricing, but Sisvel is looking to attract further patent holders, and the activity highlights the general trend towards pools, which could subtly add pressure on Qualcomm to modify its IPR structures going forward.
Meanwhile, WiMAX patent pooling group, the Open Patent Alliance (OPA) - which will soon announce its rules and recommendations - has announced four new members. These are three WiMAX device chipmakers - Beceem, GCT and Sequans - plus Japanese 802.16e operator UQ Communications. The new entrants are at associate level (non-board), and join current members Acer, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Cisco, Clearwire, Huawei, Intel and Samsung.