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Managing 'essential' patents in wireless for vendors and operators

"Although standards bodies typically require their members to declare potentially Essential patents, they do not perform any analysis - so the true ownership of patents is unclear. PA's insights bring clarity to the industry."

Essential patent licencing is a crucial issue for the wireless industry. 'Essential' patents (those embedded in the standard itself) are a massive problem for wireless manufacturers and operators today.

Because all standard-compliant equipment infringes these patents, infringement is easy to demonstrate and licencing cannot be avoided.

PA Consulting Group's WCDMA and cdma2000 IPR reports have sold to vendors and operators, large and small. 

We are members of ETSI and the UMTS Forum and have links with IP thought leaders including the European Commissions, 3G Licensing Limited and a network of patent attorneys and law firms.

In GSM licencing these patents were expensive - at over 10% of the average selling price (ASP) of the product. In WCDMA the situation is worse - licence costs run as high as 25% of product ASP. Those involved in new technologies such as WiMAX and UWB have only just begun to understand the potential size of their problem.

Licencing, cross-licencing and litigation are rife - and it's a multi-billion dollar cost to the industry. It is vital for vendors to have their own essential patents in the standard to maximise cross- licencing and minimise royalty payments.


PA leads the way in understanding wireless essential patents

PA has been deeply involved in wireless patents since the early 1990s and GSM. We offer off-the-shelf reports and analysis into the patents alleged to be essential to various wireless technologies, and we perform custom consulting assignments to locate or analyse individual essential patents.

GSM essential patent licensing report

Aimed at potential licencees, PA's 'how to licence' document gives historical information about GSM licencing, the key licencors, likely royalty rates and some strategies to help minimise them.

WCDMA and cdma2000 essential patent analysis databases

Aimed at licencors and licencees, these databases include patent-by-patent analysis of the patents declared as essential to the standards organisations ETSI and ARIB. PA's engineers have evaluated each patent family against the specifications and formed a technical view of which patents are essential and which are not. The accompanying report also estimates the strengths of key players and gives information on potential royalty rates

Custom consulting assignments

In addition to our standard reports we also provide customised IP consultancy:

  • Patent mining - We search your patent portfolio to locate patents you own which might be essential to the various wireless standards. Our evaluation methodology allows us to rapidly cut down hundreds of candidate patents into a few tens which can be further evaluated. Claim charts can be developed if required

  • Custom consultancy - Our skills in patent evaluation and ten years' experience in wireless patent evaluations and the licensing industry are at your disposal. Typically we are asked to develop claim charts for specific patents or assist in developing a licensing strategy

  • Patent strategy - Although companies recognise that patents have value, they often do not maximise the benefit of this early enough when developing IP. PA provides strategic consulting services to help companies target and exploit IP to achieve maximum value

  • Expert witness – PA provides expert witness resources either as direct support to attorneys or as a testifying expert. PA provides individuals with technical experience in developing wireless products with specific expertise and real industry knowledge. 

To find out more about our essential patent expertise please contact us now.

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