AT&T, Clearwire and HP, among others, have agreed to an LTE patent pool that could mean fewer lawsuits over the use of the technology. The patent pool, managed by Dolby Laboratories’ subsidiary Via Licensing, includes AT&T, Clearwire, Hewlett-Packard, DirecTV Group subsidiary DTVG, KDDI, NTT Docomo, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, and ZTE.
Via’s LTE patent pool provides transparent and nondiscriminatory access to LTE essential patents to encourage growth and development of this important technology, said the company. The LTE patents are so-called “frand,” or “fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory” terms to allow compatibility between devices and rival products.
The pool will give manufacturers access to these costly patents, which supporters hope means less legal-wrangling and more resources spent on development. The inclusion of DirecTV is interesting, and the pool includes many TD-LTE supporters such as Clearwire, ZTE, and Telefonica.
According to Roger Ross, president of Via Licensing, some patent holders are waiting for the resolution of existing patent disputes before committing. “It’s difficult for companies to join if there are essential patents in dispute,” Ross said. Via Licensing hopes to secure 20 percent of the intellectual property behind LTE in its pool.
The company expects that other organizations will join the pool and he is confident that the number of partners will increase quickly over the next few months. Among the names that are missing include some of the largest LTE infrastructure providers including Alcatel, Ericsson, Huawei, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, Qualcomm, China Mobile, and others.
Nokia, for its part, says it has already licensed its LTE essential patents to more than 40 companies, noting that it has more than 400 families of patents related to the technology, reports All Things D.
“This has been estimated by independent sources to represent around 50 percent of the total patents declared essential to LTE by all companies,” Nokia said.