Via Licensing Corporation today announced that China Mobile and Deutsche Telekom joined the company’s LTE patent pool for standards-essential patents. The two telecom giants join AT&T, Clearwire Corporation, DTVG Licensing, HP, KDDI Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, and ZTE Corporation in this pool that launched last October. Give the vagaries of the patent system and the constant threat of litigation, a patent pool like Via Licensing’s allows telecom companies to reduce the risk of litigations and makes it easier for them to license their own patents.
“The addition of these key patent holders increases the benefit that the Via LTE patent pool brings to the 4G ecosystem. The inclusion of standard-essential patents from China Mobile and Deutsche Telekom to the LTE patent pool further strengthens the program and ensures licensees worldwide access to critical LTE IPR,” said Roger Ross II, President of Via Licensing in a statement today.
This statement was echoed by Deutsche Telekom’s CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, who also noted that his industry “is often affected by costly patent litigation and a lack of predictability surrounding the cost and availability of essential IP.”
The patent pool is open to all owners of LTE essential patents, that is, a patent that is part of the industry standard. The holders of standard-essential patents have to make these available for licensing and others have tried to launch LTE patent pools in the past (but mostly failed to gain traction). Via, it seems has been able to recruit a wide variety of patent holders and now that it has some momentum, chances are others will join as well.