Feeds

Nokia flogs 350 vital mobile phone patents

Buyer Sisvel is throwing a 4G patent pool party - all invited

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Patent licensing outfit Sisvel has acquired 450 patents from Nokia, 350 of which are essential for mobile telephony, but despite appearances this is no desperate attempt to borrow cash from the future.

The patents include 350 which are considered "essential", in that it is impossible to create mobile phones conforming to 2G, 3G and/or 4G telephony standards without infringing them. But as such they are also subject to Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing – hardly the sort of thing a patent troll would be interested in.

The confusion is understandable, and makes for a better headline. It also fits with the perception of Nokia as desperate company, prepared to raise money selling patents to a troll even if it has to license them back later, though that's a long way from the truth.

Sisvel is a patent-licensing company which doesn't make anything, so it can look like a troll acquiring patents with the sole objective of pursuing unwary infringers. The company did sic local police on exhibitors at CeBIT and IFA back in 2008 for infringing MP3 patents it administers on behalf of Philips, but despite that it doesn't fit the profile of a typical troll.

Sisvel is actually concerned with the creation of patent pools, dealing with fields where the myriad of patent-holders makes getting individual licences next to impossible. In such fields some sort of aggregator is not only necessary, but desirable.

So if you're planning to make a DVB-T set-top box, then you can go along to Sisvel and get yourself a complete licence package which Sisvel has negotiated with all the various intellectual property holders. The same thing applies to DECT, H.264 SVC and MPEG audio – to name just a few.

In many cases you don't even have to go to Sisvel for those licences – you can still strike deals with the individual patent owners if you so choose. The Nokia patents which Sisvel has now acquired already have numerous licensees, and those deals remain in place along with Nokia's own licence to continue using the patents.

Sisvel has been trying, in competition with Via Licensing and the MPEG LA, to put together a pool covering all the essential parts of the preferred 4G telephony standard, LTE. This is a significant step in that direction and good news for Sisvel, but if the company is a troll then it's a big friendly troll offering FRAND licences to anyone who wants one. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.