WiMAX patent alliance formed to promote the standard

Published 13 June 2008

WiMAX has so far failed to deliver on the promise inerent in it; six WiMAX big hitters create a patent alliance which will allow for quicker and smoother adoption of the technology

The promise inherent in WiMAX technology resembles the horizon: the closer yo get to it, the farther it rcedes — so far, at least. WiMAX promoters have decided to do something about this problem. Six major electronics and communications companies have formed an alliance to accelerate the adoption and deployment of WiMAX technology. Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Clearwire, Intel, Samsung Electronics, and Sprint formed the Open Patent Alliance (OPA) with the aim of developing a WiMAX patent pool to help participating companies obtain access to WiMAX patent licenses from patent owners at a predictable cost. The patent pool aims to aggregate all the essential patents needed to implement the WiMAX standard as defined by the WiMAX Forum and the IEEE 802.16e standard.

In addition to the formation of a WiMAX patent pool, the OPA will also serve as a central resource for topics on WiMAX intellectual property rights. Initially, the OPA plans to issue a call for WiMAX essential patents for inclusion in its patent pool. An independent third-party reviewer will serve as the ‘patent referee’ and will evaluate submitted patents to determine how essential they are to the WiMAX standard. While the OPA initially will focus its efforts on the WiMAX standard, it may work with other industry groups in the future. Made up of six founding companies at its inception, the OPA expects to secure the participation of an additional six to nine companies, each of which will sit on the OPA board of directors.