SoMa Networks, a provider of pre-WiMAX equipment for wireless broadband, has struck a deal to license OFDM Intellectual Property from Qualcomm. This is the first licensee we have seen for the OFDM patents that Qualcomm acquired as part of its purchase of Flarion last August. The scuttlebutt since the purchase has been that Qualcomm was more interested in the OFDM patents than in Flarion itself. That's because Qualcomm is largely an IP company, but the value of their CDMA portfolio, while performing admirably today, is under threat from OFDM. OFDM appears to be the future, eventually replacing air interfaces like CDMA and TDMA. By purchasing Flarion, Qualcomm hedged its bets: CDMA could continue to dominate, or OFDM could supplant it -- either way, Qualcomm owns significant IP. No doubt the SoMa licensing deal (and associated press releases) is intended to be a signal to the industry that a precedent has been set, and that QCOMM expects to be compensated by companies that use OFDM.
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