Next gen. technology forum in IPR breakthrough

The Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) Forum, an eclectic mix of telecoms seeking a common vision for networks and technologies beyond 3G, reached a breakthrough agreement on intellectual property licensing practices on Tuesday.

The alliance announced a new IPR agreement that aims to “deliver more transparency and predictability towards IPR costs associated with next generation mobile technologies”.

IPR licensing has become a volatile subject and of IPR guidelines is much needed to help pave the way to resolving IPR conflicts for next generation technologies.

Indeed, some mobile technology standards setting organisations have started to review their IPR disclosure guidelines to allow for increased transparency of standards essential IPR and associated licensing terms during the standardisation process.

Hamid Akhavan, chairman of the NGMN and CEO of T-Mobile International, said: “NGMN has reached an unprecedented agreement with global technology providers to receive notifications of proposed IPR terms for next generation technologies. This chosen approach will create an environment of increased investment and innovation, thus accelerating adoption of mobile broadband services.”

The NGMN’s approach is geared to revealing indicative cumulative IPR costs up front, providing an early opportunity for technology customers to consider the IPR cost of next generation technologies in their decision making process.

Qualcomm, which has received much criticism over its existing IPR licensing practices, said that the NGMN process should give operators more transparency with respect to IPR costs associated with next generation technologies.

Andrew Gilbert, president of Qualcomm Europe, said: “The NGMN IPR agreement is unique in our industry and Qualcomm commends all the companies that have participated in agreeing to the NGMN disclosure policy and more transparency regarding potential overall costs for technologies beyond 3G, such as LTE, UMB, and WiMAX.”

The forum also added a number of industry heavyweights from the infrastructure world to its members’ roster on Tuesday.

Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments have joined the global alliance.

The kit vendors join founding members Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, KPN, NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile and Sprint Nextel.

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