Whether because of all the patent wars or due to something planned well in advance of the most recent debacles, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has launched the IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum.
The goal of the forum is to enable owners of patents essential to IEEE 802.11 standards to discuss options for licensing administration and licensing practices.
It was formed at the request of IEEE members and, now that the IEEE 802.11 products have been well established as “Wi-Fi”, the focus can be diverted to smart grid and the “Internet of Things.”
“Patent pools can play a valuable role in the lifecycle of a standardized technology because, for patent owners, they can reduce the burden of licensing administration and, for implementers, they can streamline the acquisition of patent licenses required to go to market with standards-based innovations,” said John Whelan, vice chair of the IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum.
The IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum will promote the reasonable, fair, non-discriminatory availability of licensing essentials to IEEE 802.11 through patent pools.
It will also study how the pool formation process may be streamlined in order to make joint licensing programs more feasible.
So far, the list of “solutions” includes reducing the number of preliminary meetings, standardizing documents and closely addressing particular legal issues, among other things.
“I’ve had experience with a number of patent pools of a variety of structures, and, in many cases, the creation of patent pools is simply too protracted, requiring multiple meetings and the associated travel, effort and expense,” Whelan said.
“One of the goals of the IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum is to see if we can streamline the process, toward making pooling accessible across a broader range of standardized technologies.”
The initiative will no doubt extend to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Standard
when the technology becomes sufficiently widespread.