OPA – Open Patent Alliance Formed to Advance WiMAX 4G Technology.

Wimax Intel announced that it joined forces with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Clearwire, Samsung Electronics and Sprint Nextel to form the Open Patent Alliance (OPA). The group will create a WiMAX patent pool to help participating companies obtain access to patent licenses from patent owners at a predictable cost. The OPA will initially focus on the IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard.

The patent pool will aggregate essential patent rights needed to implement the WiMAX standard as defined by the 802.16e-2005 standards and the WiMAX Forum. This approach will focus on providing a 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. 

Essential WiMAX patents to be considered for the pool will be identified through a “call for patents” process. 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. The six founding companies expect six to nine additional investor companies to join the alliance. The group will serve as the licensing agent for the WiMAX patent pool, representing the licensors who agree to participate in the pool. 

The WiMAX Forum conducted an independent IPR study in October 2006 finding about 1550 WiMAX-related patents owned by 330 companies. Samsung has the largest share of patents at 20%. Also, the study found that 74% of companies with more than 10 patents were WiMAX Forum member companies. Outsiders who have essential patents that might attempt a legal block to stifle WiMAX deployments appear limited. While the OPA initially will focus its efforts on the WiMAX standard, it may work with other industry groups in the future.

Press Release: Open Patent Alliance, LLC.

Explore posts in the same categories: LTE, Wi-Max

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