Saturday, October 6, 2012

Patent pool offers common hub for Technologies

These days technology based patents are all over the place. Firms are more concentrated on the permutations and combinations of tapping infringements, filing lawsuits, remuneration for damages etc. Amidst all this, there is a compelling need to implement a system which could act as a one-stop hub for licensing all technology related patents. This will potentially act as a marketplace for all future related IP licensing needs. In short, the concept of Patent pool shall be utilized for pooling technology based patents and thereby giving substantial opportunities to the member parties who are potentially willing to license-out or cross-license their patented technologies , alongwith the ones who are willing to be potential licensees of such technologies. Such Patent pools not only enhance technology based collaborations but also reduce the risk of litigation for other organizations offering or manufacturing products and services related to such patents.

In the past, we have seen many such Patent pooling consortiums. For example, Open Innovation Network® founded in 2005, founding members being IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. Open Invention Network® operations include acquiring patents and making them available royalty-free to companies, institutions or individuals who agree not to assert their patents against the Linux System. Thus promoting technology based collaboration. Potential licensees of Open Innovation Network® agrees not to assert their patent rights on Linux based Systems on becoming OIN licensees. On the other hand, licensees can fruitfully benefit from the royalty free access to the valuable Linux based Patent portfolio.

Other such technology based patent pools include OpenPatent Alliance founded in 2008 by Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Clearwire, Intel, Sprint and Samsung for patents related to WiMAX standard ( Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). Another such consortium being the Medicines Patent Pool which aims to improve access to affordable and appropriate HIV medicines in middle or low income countries. More information on Medicine Patent Pool can be accessed from our earlier blog post here.

The recent addition to the patent pool consortium is Via Licensing's LTE ( Long Term Evolution ) Patent pool ( announced on October 3, 2012 ) for the wireless industry which aims at accelerating innovation by providing efficient, transparent and cost-effective access to LTE standard essential patents. The members offering their patents through this LTE Patent pool are AT&T, Clearwire Corporation, DTVG Licensing, HP, KDDI Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, and ZTE Corporation.

Analyzing all this, we can hope additions of more such Patent pools in the near future enhancing technology based collaborations and building a stronger ecosystem for licensing present and upcoming technologies. 

( Image courtesy link