IEEE Standards Association to Build Awareness of Patent Pools

The IEEE Standards Association and Via Licensing Corp

6 February 2009

The IEEE Standards Association and Via Licensing Corp., in the first agreement of its kind, are collaborating in a two-year trial program to foster joint patent licensing programs for IEEE standards. Via Licensing, a subsidiary of Dolby Labs, is a company in San Francisco that administers licensing programs for intellectual-property owners. The so-called patent pools bring together multiple essential patent owners to establish a single royalty rate and license for all the intellectual property in the pool. The individual licensor companies retain ownership of the patents, and they provide licensees with an efficient means to acquire the IP they need to build standards-based products.

The goal of the collaboration is to accelerate and broaden adoption of IEEE’s 950 published standards and the 500 standards under development by building awareness about the benefits of voluntary patent pools and educating IEEE constituents that they exist. Participating in a pool might help lower licensing fees for developers and reduce lawsuits over patent rights.

“The collaboration with Via Licensing is a groundbreaking step for IEEE in addressing the needs of our industry stakeholders to see their significant investment in standards development rewarded,” says Judith Gorman, managing director of the IEEE Standards Association, in Piscataway, N.J. “We expect that our participation at the earliest stages of the patent pooling process will reduce the barriers that prevent the rapid adoption of technology standards.”

Edward Rashba, director of new business ventures for IEEE-SA, calls the patent pool a “one-stop shop where developers can get all the patents that are essential for implementation of a new technology.”

“Sometimes it’s impossible to know what patents and standards you need, and negotiating with each individual patent holder can be a time-consuming and expensive process,” Rashba says.

“IEEE-SA’s 133 corporate members view the standards development process as one step in overall product development going from the lab to the marketplace and believe that IEEE can do more than just put out the best quality standards,” he says. “Our primary goal is to broaden the adoption of IEEE standards and help those who invest in the development of those standards get better return on their investment. The standards won’t do anyone any good sitting on a shelf.”

For more information about the agreement, contact Rashba at +1 732 465 6449 or e.rashba@ieee.org.

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