It is worth noting that many of the use cases for IoT that are currently receiving much attention (like connected cars), likely won’t fall into litigation because of SEP enforcement challenges. Frankly, I don’t see a scenario where the number of cars being sold and the proportionate value that IoT will bring to those cars (with the possible exception of self-driving cars) are such that high value licensing will make sense. On a volume basis, a connected car manufacturer like BMW probably sells fewer cars than the smallest smartphone manufacturer and the absolute value of any apportioned royalty base is likely smaller than that of a smartphone. Additionally, it is worth noting that many of the higher value IoT products and services will have wireline connections to the Internet, and wireline has traditionally had a less contentious licenses ecosystem than wireless connections. Read more
I believe we may be due in the next two to three years for a large-scale re-eruption of the patent wars that have been a constant presence in the telecommunications industry since at least 2005. Unlike the prior iterations of those wars, I believe these wars will not only be international, but much of their driving force will occur ex-USA. Moreover, they will be across multiple industries. They will be much more impacted by direct government policy and will be much broader in impact than just mobile cell phones and terminals.
I believe that the playing field of this war will be the Internet of Things often abbreviated as IoT. Read more
Another good article on SMEs, IP and the internet of things. From the depressing conclusion (which just show how widespread IP ignorance is): “the survey [discussed in the article] showed that young innovative firms lack IP awareness and do not understand the role that IP management could play for their firm. A good illustration of this issue is that respondents showed two apparent contradictory views on the IP system. On the one hand side they lacked awareness on IP, on the other hand, they felt that the patent system should be urgently reformed. This suggests that the senior managers in YICs have, at best, a layperson’s understanding of the IP system and it underlines the need for further IP awareness-building campaigns. The interviewees also had a minimal understanding of standard essential patents and the accompanying FRAND debate, especially the early stage firms. This leaves them exposed to unexpected licensing requests, while depriving them of the opportunity to pursue their own licensing programs.”
I just gave a talk on how the history and current practice of SEP licensing and the development of the Internet of Things is likely to lead to be next front in the patent wars. I also posit that these wars will be international with much of their driving force being outside the US. I hope the audience was received it well.
Supposedly the Commission’s latest draft no longer has the phrase “licensing for all”, the sources known to Reuters said. They also said a key sentence in an earlier proposal has also been deleted. That sentence said that right holders could not unilaterally set prices according to the way in which a patent is used.
We shall know for sure pretty soon. The real question will be what various courts and regulators around the world do with the issued guidelines…