The Meaningless WiMax Patent Pool

from the somebody's-missing.... dept

There are some folks who believe that the solution to patent problems is to just have everyone who claims to have a patent on a certain technology throw it into a "patent pool" and then those who use the technology pay up a fee that gets divided up among pool members. It sounds nice, but in practice, it almost never works. Setting up a patent pool actually encourages the wrong behavior: it encourages plenty of other patent holders to claim they deserve to be a part of the pool, and if they're not included, they start suing like crazy. Also, it encourages companies to try to get any kind of patent that might get them included in a pool, leading to all sorts of crazy claims. It's the exact opposite of the type of behavior that should be encouraged.

So, don't read too much into the fact that a bunch of companies in the WiMax space have agreed to put together a patent pool under the amusingly inaccurately named "Open Patent Alliance." The companies involved, Cisco, Intel, Samsung, Sprint, Alcatel-Lucent, and Clearwire are all betting big on WiMax deployments, so they know it's in their best interest to get the licensing out of the way. But you'll notice that there are a lot of companies missing -- including Wi-LAN who has been claiming that it owns all the key patents over WiMax technology for years. The patent pool sounds nice, but it's certainly not going to diminish the number of patent lawsuits that arise over WiMax technology. If anything, it's just going to make all those other companies even angrier.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Ulle, 10 Jun 2008 @ 12:17am

    I have to wonder how much new tech we consumers never get to see because of these patent wars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 10 Jun 2008 @ 2:08am

    Patent = Monopoly

    Ergo, "Open Patent Alliance" = "Open Monopoly Alliance". Or, perhaps more accurately, "Open Monopoly Cartel". And what does "Open" mean? No more than "available for a fee".

    So we end up with "Monopoly Cartel for Hire".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joel West, 10 Jun 2008 @ 8:32pm

    I agree 100%, this is a meaningless pool without the LTE patent pool members -- or LTE holdouts Qualcomm, InterDigital, Nortel and Motorola. The only pools that work are those like for MPEG4 or DVD where you have all the major players at the table

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    unknownsoundman, 14 Jun 2008 @ 10:05pm

    mono poly

    If clearwire is involved, it has to be a scam.
    they can not even deliver "wireless", or "broadband" as they openly claim (advertise).
    What ever happened to "truth in advertising", or for that matter, the government agencies (FCC, FTC, etc.) that are supposed to look out for the public, not just collude with big business to ream the citizens for every dime they can jack?
    This is just a way for the big corporations to shut out the small guys on the block (you know, the innovators).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.