What A Shock: Another Wireless Standard Beset By Patent Problems

from the no-innovation-allowed dept

It's becoming such that news about another patent battle surrounding a new standard is barely newsworthy -- especially in the wireless space. Name the standard, and we can probably find someone claiming patents on it. There are still ongoing patent battles surrounding both WiFi and WiMax. The latest is apparently surrounding LTE, the choice of many mobile providers for their 4G next generation wireless. A company named ADC is claiming that LTE violates its patents and is now asking for royalties. As per usual, the company claiming patents over the technology just so happens to show up after a bunch of folks have committed to the technology. Funny how that works.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 4:06pm

    To be fair there not a patent troll. that have invested real money and have brought to market products. If it was intentioanl shame on them but in this case i think it maybe purely accidental timing though there timing does suck, badly.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous proofreader, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 4:20pm

    Anonymous Coward:

    there - a location (not here)
    their - possessive, belonging to them
    they're - contraction of "they are"

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 4:30pm

    Re:

    by Anonymous proofreader - Nov 14th, 2008 @ 4:20pm

    Anonymous Coward:

    there - a location (not here)
    their - possessive, belonging to them
    they're - contraction of "they are"

    English Nazi. :)

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    bob, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Anonymous Proofreader

    There are still ongoing patent battles surrounding both WiFi and WiMax. The latest is apparently surrounding LTE,

    Are you claiming the usage of the term THERE is improper here?

     

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  5.  
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    bigpicture, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Topic

    Way off topic teacher. If we wanted an English lesson, there is always night school. Do you know anything about the patent issue? Maybe you could rewrite the patent laws using some of that clarity of English.

     

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  6.  
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    nate, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 5:09pm

    Anonymous Proofreader

    I'm sorry but the only thing I find more annoying than horrible grammar is when someone else feels the need to point out the mistake and correct it. Hopefully the readers of TechDirt are smart enough the decipher a simple grammatical error. Get a life Anonymous Proofreader. The first poster actually had a point.

     

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  7.  
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    Adam, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re:

    No, when people write like that I often have to re-read because I don't understand WTF you're talking about.

    A.

     

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  8.  
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    skyrider (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 5:55pm

    I second that

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:09pm

    "As per usual, the company claiming patents over the technology just so happens to show up after a bunch of folks have committed to the technology. Funny how that works."

    Jumping to conclusions does not become you.

     

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  10.  
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    Just Wondering, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:11pm

    Stander

    Are those that participate in setting the standard suppose to divulge any and all claims upon said standard ?

     

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  11.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:14pm

    Re:

    Jumping to conclusions does not become you.

    Nor does making insinuations without backing them up become you.

    Would you prefer to elaborate?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re:

    "Jumping to conclusions" is manifestly accurate. There is nothing in the linked article, or in another article it links, that in any way suggests ADC has acted in an untoward manner.

    If you have information to the contrary, then perhaps you should offer it up for consideration and discussion. Until then the most that can honestly be said is that there is a large company (about 9K employees) that holds various patents that may be pertinent to 4G.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why is it a standard when parts (or all) of it are claimed by patent ? Hardly seems like a good why to establish a standard, unless - of course - you are the one who holds the patent.

     

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  14.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 15th, 2008 @ 12:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Jumping to conclusions" is manifestly accurate. There is nothing in the linked article, or in another article it links, that in any way suggests ADC has acted in an untoward manner.

    Who said they acted in an "untoward manner"?

    I simply noted that they're asking for patent royalties now that everyone has agreed on the standard.

    Actually, come to think of it, that is rather untoward.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    Merely FYI, before making a comment I took a tour through "Internet World" to try and flesh out additional data pertinent to the article. A search at the USPTO revealed that ADC does hold a rather large assortment of issued patents (and doubtless pending applications) that may comprise some of the very basic technological developments that the standard setting companies appear to have adopted. ADC being a know "player" in the relevant field of technology, with that technology spanning several industries, it would be surprising if the standard setting companies were not fully aware of ADC's technology contributions. I also learned that ADC is not alone. Numerous other large and well-know companies have also developed much of the basic technology for other aspects of 4G. Doubtless most, if not all, of them will likewise come to the bargaining table.

    I also learned that the standard setting companies are currently engaged in negotiating cross-licensing arrangements among themeselves so that a baseline is established for them to move forward.

    Similarly, I also learned that other companies likewise that a technological stake in what currently makes up the standard, but that they were not participants in the standard setting process.

    Importantly, all of these companies touching upon the technology embraced within the standard are well-known household names, are quite business savvy, and will eventually arrive at a concensus agreement. This is totally normal, certainly not unexpected, and really nothing more than business as usual. Yes, people will gnash teeth during the negotiations, and tempers will flare and then subside. However, in the end an agreement will be crafted acceptable to all that the parties agree will enable the deployment of a new generation system that is competitive with currently existing market forces.

    Do I see this as "Another Wireless Standard Beset By Patent Problems"? Of course not. Will it take a bit of time for things to sort out? Yes, but in the end it would not surprise me that to some degree the existence of various patents in the hands of numerous parties will lead to a business arrangement beneficial to the companies and consumers alike.

     

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  16.  
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    One Million Dallars, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    The whole standard setting process intended to create a consortium which effectively shuts out all competition does not seem to be efficient in any sense of the word.

    I find it humorous when the Dr Evil submarine rises to the surface firing off one or more claims upon the sacred "standard" which has been hammered out amongst the tribe.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re:

    "I find it humorous when the Dr Evil submarine rises to the surface firing off one or more claims upon the sacred "standard" which has been hammered out amongst the tribe."

    This is, of course, one unfortunate aspect of patent systems in general. In the current vernacular such patentees have become known as "trolls". However, in this matter it does not appear that the term fairly applies to those companies whose work is well known and documented. Presumably, those setting the standard are well aware of such prior work and selected it for inclusion into the standard because of the benefits it offers.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 15th, 2008 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    I also learned that ADC is not alone. Numerous other large and well-know companies have also developed much of the basic technology for other aspects of 4G. Doubtless most, if not all, of them will likewise come to the bargaining table.

    I never claimed otherwise, but it IS symptomatic of the problem.

    The standard has been set and many companies have committed to it... and then people come up claiming patent protection and demanding royalties.

    If you can't see how that is a tremendous hindrance on innovation then there is no reasoning with you.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 5:01pm

    Re: Re:

    You have repeatedly made the point that in your view patents hinder "innovation" (as you define that term).

    I am not here to try and convince you otherwise, but merely to note that all of the "players" are relatively sophisticated companies and certainly settled on the standard with full knowledge of its key technological components and their associated developers.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 15th, 2008 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I am not here to try and convince you otherwise, but merely to note that all of the "players" are relatively sophisticated companies and certainly settled on the standard with full knowledge of its key technological components and their associated developers.

    Historically, that has not been the case. So if it is the case this time around, it would be something new. And, even if it were the case, that would hardly make it right. In MOST standards settings processes that I've been party to, those with patents are supposed to declare their interests early on.

    It's possible, though unlikely, that that wasn't the case this time.

     

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  21.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 2:32am

    Re: Anonymous Fucktard

    ...it would be surprising if the standard setting companies were not fully aware of ADC's technology contributions.

    More surprising than ADC being "not fully aware" of the standard-setting process being conducted?

     

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  22.  
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    JustMe, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 5:17am

    I doubt it was an accident

    Since everyone and their uncle knew the standards have been coming for 3 or 4 years.

     

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  23.  
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    Patent Engineer, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Whatever ADC claims can be overturned. Remember, their applications have been examined by incompetent patent examiners, and yes, I'm talking about US patent office examiners, who only cite US patents & publications against US patent applications.

    It's so funny... people see a patent as something that is valid once it's been granted.

    I have a gut feeling... if ADC's going to act like a troll, their patents will be invalidated "in no time". After all, it's the whole LTE consortium, or whatever you want to call it, and their prior art against something those young, incompetent patent examiners managed to find in their "extensive" prior art study... There's a lot of prior art out there...

    disclaimer: I have NOT studied ADC's patent portfolio or if they have patents outside of the US. If you see spelin mis-steaks you needs to go see an iDoctor (an improved version of the Doctor).

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 8:54am

    Re:

    The difficulty associated with properly examining patent applications in the software and business methods arts is well documented. I daresay, however, that this is not a significant problem in the wireless arts since prior art can be readily identified and the technology is more clearly understood by those tasked with examining applications.

    Merely FYI, printed publications from all corners of the globe are routinely cited as prior art.

    ADC, and other large companies who have previously developed technologies serving as the foundational basis for the standard, in no way resemble "trolls". In the case of ADC is has been incorporating its work in products offerred for sale to the public. Moreover, it has not kept the technical details of its work hidden from the public. In contrast, the term "troll" is more properly applied to groups that secure a patent(s), do not take products to market...but choose instead to secure an income stream by asserting the patents against companies that are taking products to market.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Patent Engineer, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 10:38am

    that may be the situation now but maybe it wasn't so when those ADC patents were being examined.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    Some of the earliest patents I have seen covering technology now embraced by wireless systems were filed in the mid 60's. The USPTO did not have any particularly difficulty back then understanding the technology, so to me it seems unlikely the office was not similarly proficient at the time ADC and its counterparts began their work.

     

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  27.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 17th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re:

    Even if a company makes a product, it still falls under Troll definition to wait until something is worth something before deciding to go after them for patent infringement. These standards processes take a long time. If ADC is in fact a good corporation in that sector, than they would have been well aware of the technology being suggested. Waiting until after the standards are accepted and companies commit to that technology Before suing still makes them a troll. During the phase where companies are supposed to announce patents, is where they should have announced their patents.

     

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