Acquiring the necessary patents to market products can be difficult.
Patents required for products using the ATSC and MPEG standards can be obtained as a group through patent licensing programs known as patent pools available from MPEG LA.
IEEE this week announced it was collaborating with Via Licensing Corp. to foster patent pools for IEEE standards.
"The collaboration with Via Licensing is a groundbreaking step for the IEEE in addressing the needs of our industry stakeholders to see their significant investment in standards development rewarded,” said Judith Gorman, managing director of the IEEE Standards Association. “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."
Jean-Michel Bourdon, president of Via Licensing, added, "As the IEEE continues to develop global technology standards, it is important that any issues surrounding intellectual property are addressed in a fair and cost-effective manner. Together, IEEE and Via Licensing are working to provide visibility, neutrality, and streamlined accessibility to essential intellectual property."
Manufacturers benefit from having a single source for patents using IEEE standards. Robert Syputa, senior analyst and partner at Maravedis Inc., explained the benefits of patent pools.
“The interdependence of intellectual property rights and markets combined with the accelerated pace of development has created the need for greater visibility of licensing requirements both within and across individual standards,” he said. “This makes a coordinated licensing framework that includes patent pools, a valuable asset if not an outright necessity for the advancement of electronics, particularly of IT and telecommunications related technologies and markets.”
Via Licensing is an independently run subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories. It benefits from Dolby's 40 years of licensing expertise.
The IEEE/Via Licensing announcement notes that IEEE's relationship with Via Licensing is designed such that the IEEE is only involved in the pre-commercial phase. IEEE will not be involved in any commercial issues; its role will involve “fostering the patent pool process through education and promotion.” All patent licensing administration function will be performed by Via Licensing independent of the IEEE.
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