Comment on IEEE policy on standards patents
CEO of Inerdigital comments on IEEE policy:
Here’s where patents come in. When an organization does something to improve the standard, they have to commit to negotiate licenses for any patents they have on that technology on reasonable, non-discriminatory terms. What exactly was reasonable and how royalties were to be calculated was left to individual negotiations, which occurred without fanfare for 20 years. That system worked very well and the performance of Wi-Fi grew by leaps and bounds.
This year, the IEEE voted to change its patent licensing policy. Rather than leave it to the parties to decide how royalties would be calculated, the IEEE endorses a calculation based on the value of the chip inside the device, even if many other aspects of the device benefit from or use the contributed technology.
This move could slash revenues for standards developers. The IEEE also wants to make it pretty near impossible to stop someone from shipping products even if they refuse to pay a license -- and that refusal will become more commonplace if there are limited means to enforce patents.
So in a nutshell, they don’t want developers to be paid much, and they’ve also made it as hard as possible for them to get paid at all. It’s all very one-sided, and so was the process that led to the decision.