IT companies plan joint licensing of Wimax patents
Six IT companies are planning to pool their Wimax wireless communications technology patents for licensing to other companies. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Cisco, Intel, Samsung Electronics, Sprint Nextel, Alcatel-Lucent and Clearwire intend to announce the foundation of the Open Patent Alliance on Monday. The newspaper says its sources are "people familiar with the situation" and documents it has seen.
According to the report, the six companies are aiming for joint licensing along the lines of the MPEG-LA licensing organisation. The aim is to limit the costs of using Wimax technology to ensure that computer, network and component manufacturers are not deterred from using Wimax. The report cites,a s an example of the negative effect of separate licensing, Qualcomm, Nokia and Ericsson, which collect licensing fees for 3G mobile phone technology separately. These costs constitute up to 25 per cent of the price of a mobile phone.
Intel wants Wimax to become a standard component of mobile computers in the same way as WiFi has. Sprint and Clearwire, with Intel's involvement, are planning a joint Wimax network in the USA. Samsung, Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent are expected to offer Wimax accessories. One potential problem for the planned alliance is competition with LTE mobile phone technology, and the non-participation of two major companies, Motorola and Qualcomm.