After a period of skeptical acquiescence, anti-trust regulators seem to have come around and embraced patent pools for standard essential patents (SEPs.) The European Commission, no slouch when it comes to regulating SEPs, even remarked that the creation of patent pools “should be encouraged.” Indeed, one recent study purporting to be the first to empirically analyze the costs and benefits of patent pools estimates that pools save licensees hundreds of millions of dollars in transaction costs.
Notwithstanding the EC’s encouragement, anti-patent advocates, Google & Apple Unified Patents, has decided to engage in a social media and costly litigation campaign to kneecap two high efficiency video coding or HEVC patent pools. Filing 3 IPRs and 10 IPRs against patents belonging to HEVC Advance and Velos, respectively. At a cost of between $300,000 to $600,000 per IPR, these IPRs cannot come cheap – even if much of the work is done in-house. Accordingly, it is worth asking why is Unified trolling HEVC Advance and Velos, especially since there has yet to be any litigation by the owners of the HEVC patents that were IPR’ed.