Feeds

Broadcom batters Qualcomm in IPR court

Qualcomm forced to lower high patent royalties

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Broadcom has now won its second patent spat with Qualcomm in court, this time through a jury trial that lasted nine days, and had at its heart, patents associated with H.264, the new standard codec which comes out of the telecommunications community and the MPEG standards body.

What we find alarming is the fact that finally, at the end of the trial, Broadcom is able to tell us more clearly what the legal battle was all about, which is that the patent royalties that Qualcomm wanted to bill Broadcom turned out to be more than twice what the all other technology contributors to the standard require when put together.

It's all very alarming in that there was a patent pool put together for H.264, but it appears to include everyone that helped build the H.264 technology except Qualcomm. For instance, it includes Daewoo, France Télécom, the Fraunhofer institute, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Philips, LG Electronics, LSI Logic, Matsushita, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Samsung, Sharp, Siemens, Sony, Toshiba and JVC to name but a few. H.264 technology is at the heart of devices like iPods, DVRs, set tops, DVD players and where video enabled, cellular handsets.

And the patent pool requests that for up to five million encoder decoder units sold OEM, the manufacturer pays 20 cents each, above five million units this falls to 10 cents each, up to a maximum of $3.5m, with that maximum rising gradually in later years to $5m.

Qualcomm felt that its two patents were worth over $8m from Broadcom alone. Which is interesting, because Microsoft has around 200 such patents and many of the CE manufacturers have even more. And yet of 160 total patents that were deemed essential, each of these companies warrant just a small share of the patent pool revenues (the split varies based on who has contributed the most technology).

There are two issues here, firstly that Qualcomm told the standards body that it would offer its technology on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis, and secondly that Qualcomm never joins patent pools and always pursues its IPR alone. And yet Qualcomm executives, as we meet them at events around the world, get annoyed that analysts go on about the "intellectual property" question complaining that we don't ask anyone else about it.

This type of practice is going to go away, in that most standards bodies have been bitten more than once and practice is gradually changing so the standards body will agree a price for the technology before taking an irrevocable decision to include it in any standard. But it hasn't gone away yet.

So does this mean that Qualcomm invented part of the standard that no one has decided to use except Broadcom, which is why it has suddenly gone after it with this suit, or is it that Qualcomm is discriminately chasing a direct rival on the patent, but no one else.

Either way it is a huge embarrassment for Qualcomm, and the company needs to drop its stance on this particular part of IPR and join the MPEG LA patent pool. Getting a standard of this type together takes an awful lot of effort and takes around a decade, and this type of thing just blocks its adoption.

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.