LTE Patent Pool: No Diving!

7:50 AM -- Following Light Reading Mobile's report that some large equipment vendors are not very enthusiastic about proposals for a Long Term Evolution (LTE) patent pool, a leading industry analyst tells us there are many more reasons why companies won't dive in to such a pooling arrangement. (See Vendors Balk at LTE Patent Pool Proposal.)

According to Keith Mallinson, founder of the WiseHarbor consulting firm, the problems with an LTE patent pool are quite fundamental and go beyond the disagreements resulting from disparate interests among vendors.

"None of the major players is willing to make such a commitment for mobile phones and network equipment," stated Mallinson in an email to Light Reading Mobile.

"They want the autonomy to do bilateral deals with different terms for each counterparty and maximum flexibility to use their patents in litigation. The 3G patent pool was a flop and there’s no reason why LTE pooling should be any different," he added.

"Another point is that there are major differences in opinion about how to value patents among major owners, who are unwilling to delegate valuation authority to a third party," he continued. "They'd rather thrash things out bilaterally with the support of their public relations machines helping argue what is the best way to value and who has most IPR."

And hearing Mallinson's take on the issue I'm more inclined to think an LTE patent pool just isn't going to happen, or at least not in an effective way.

It also looks more certain that the efforts of operator-led groups such as the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Ltd. Alliance to rally the industry into creating an LTE patent pool won't be rewarded as they would like. (See LTE Group Seeks Patent Pool Info and Patent Group Tackles 4G Sans Qualcomm.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:52:06 PM
re: LTE Patent Pool: No Diving!

I interviewed Ericsson's chief intellectual property officer Kasim Alfalahi last week and asked him about patent pools. He said that for LTE, "We believe bilateral negotiation is much more efficient."

He also said that for 3G, "there was a patent pool that didn't work."



ibarrera 12/5/2012 | 4:52:04 PM
re: LTE Patent Pool: No Diving!

I'm not surprised. Manufacturers doing hardware research don't want to put their patents in a pool where Apple can use them and sue them back using its software patents. (Or any other company for that case).

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