The IEEE Standards Association is entering a 2-year trial program to advise Via Licensing on the creation of technology patent pools, both organizations said today.
Members of the IEEE currently have access to more than 950 completed standards and nearly 500 more currently in development. Via currently has eight active patent pools and two more in development. Several of these apply to the cellular industry, such as near-field communications and RF identification.
Through a patent pool, individuals and companies retain ownership of patents, but pool members have special license privileges. The owners can still create separate license deals and can sell their patents for profit, but the pool gets a percentage of any sale. In the current deal, the IEEE would also get a percentage.
“What we’re trying to do is build awareness and educate people about this pro-competitive model and joint licensing of IP,” said Edward Rashba, director of new business ventures for the IEEE Standards Association. “There have been an increasing number of patent filings and patents issued and what that has resulted in is increasing amounts of complexity accessing those patents. Manufacturers looking to put out products have a real challenge in understanding what patents they need to get.”
It will probably take a year or two for any new pools through the Via deal to emerge, Rashba said. There are some details still to be determined, such as the exact licensing terms. The IEEE itself is “absolutely not” interested in owning patents, he added.
The IEEE also takes a stance on the controversial issue of patent reform through its IEEE USA division. The stance is pro-innovation and against legislation that stifles it, said Erica Wissolik, program manager for government relations.
IEEE USA soon will publish a position paper specifically about government patent reform. It’s expected on Jan. 15, coinciding with the group’s next board meeting, she said.
Via, for its part, said it does not have a corporate stance on patent reform. Patents that it licenses are evaluated by an unspecified third party, director of business development Torey Bruno said.
Filed Under: Industry regulations