Mobile patent holders agree on price

A group of companies holding patents essential to the W-CDMA technology have agreed to keep royalties to a minimum as they look to make the technology more affordable.

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By  Philip Fenton Published  November 6, 2002

A group of companies holding essential patents for W-CDMA technology have signed an agreement to keep royalty rates down in an effort to make the technology more affordable.

NTT DoCoMo, Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens have reached a mutual understanding to licence essential patents for W-CDMA at rates proportional to the number of the patents owned by each company. The intention is to set a benchmark for all patent holders of the W-CDMA technology to achieve fair and reasonable royalty rates.

W-CDMA is the third generation mobile technology of choice for around 110 operators worldwide. The agreement by the companies, who together own the vast majority of essential patents, will enable a royalty rate of around five percent to be set.

The companies also own a significant number of essential patents for the CDMA2000 standard, which should also be priced in a similar way.
As essential patent holders, Japanese manufacturers Fujitsu, Matsushita Communication Industrial (Panasonic), Mitsubishi Electric, NEC and Sony Corporation have also expressed their willingness to cooperate.

"It is of the utmost importance for the mobile communication industry and in the interest of both licensors and licensees that the cumulative royalty cost of W-CDMA is maintained at a competitive level which encourages both greater growth and innovation in the industry," said Lothar Pauly, board member of the Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group. "As we - the major IPR holders – make our patents available we ensure that W-CDMA stays an open and globally acceptable technology."

"This initiative is meaningful for promoting the W-CDMA services by keeping cumulative royalty rate below 5%," said Kota Kinoshita, executive vice president of NTT DoCoMo. "We have discussed through the 3G Patent Platform Partnership (3G3P) how to licence essential patents at acceptable royalty rates. We believe the intent of the arrangement is well harmonised with that of 3G3P."

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