To accelerate the adoption and deployment of WiMAX technology and products, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Clearwire, Intel , Samsung and Sprint today announced the formation of the Open Patent Alliance (OPA).
The OPA will advance a competitive and open intellectual property rights model, thus stimulating a larger WiMAX industry that offers lower equipment and service costs for WiMAX technology, devices and applications.
WiMAX is a 4G, IP-based broadband wireless technology that provides low-cost, multi-megabit speed and greater throughput for the mobile Internet era of video-rich content and bandwidth-intensive applications. It is based on the IEEE 802.16e standard.
To accomplish its goals, the OPA will form a WiMAX patent pool to help participating companies obtain access to patent licenses from patent owners at a predictable cost.
The patent pool will aggregate essential patent rights needed to implement the WiMAX standard as defined by the WiMAX Forum and the IEEE 802.16e standard. To help ensure product differentiation and interoperability at a more predictable cost, this approach will focus on providing a more competitive royalty structure by charging only for the features required to develop WiMAX products. The patent pool will incorporate a variety of royalty licensing solutions, including accounting for cross-licensing among individual members within the pool.
The OPA will issue a call for WiMAX essential patents for inclusion in its patent pool. An independent third-party reviewer will serve as the "patent referee" and will evaluate submitted patents to determine how essential they are to the WiMAX standard and WiMAX Forum profiles. While the OPA initially will focus its efforts on the WiMAX standard, it may work with other industry groups in the future.
The OPA will have dedicated staff that is directed by and accountable to the OPA board, and the alliance will serve as the licensing agent for the WiMAX patent pool, representing the licensors who agree to participate in the pool.
"As an early and consistent supporter of the WiMAX 802.16e ecosystem, Alcatel-Lucent believes that end-user experiences will drive the broadband wireless revolution," said Philippe Keryer, president of Alcatel-Lucent's mobile access business.
"Intel's vision in driving the formation of the Open Patent Alliance is to bring the openness of the Internet and computing industries to the wireless industry and WiMAX" said Sriram Viswanathan, vice president, Intel Capital and general manager, Intel WiMAX program office. "By facilitating an open intellectual property rights model, we expect the alliance to in turn create a more competitive, innovative and broader WiMAX industry that ultimately benefits the consumer with more choice for WiMAX technology and services."
For information regarding the submission of patents for testing, visit the OPA Web site at www.openpatentalliance.com.