Protecting IP Builds Confidence and Encourages Investment in the Future

By William Merritt
October 9, 2018

“[F]or these groundbreaking technologies to reach users, researchers on the front lines of innovation must have incentives to spend their time and resources on mobile standards. This is how licensing helps drive new technologies.

Protecting IP Builds Confidence, Encourages Investment for Future TechnologiesThe other week at Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles, innovators and thought leaders from around the world gathered to discuss groundbreaking technology advancements in many key industries, including 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) services. At MWC, various companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have announced the rollout of 5G commercial services. This is an incredible validation of the work that has gone into 5G development, and to see this hard work reflected in market-ready products and services is very satisfying, as it was for previous generations like LTE. I recall we demonstrated working 5G capabilities as early as 2013 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Amid all the talk of 5G, however, there has also been discussion around the national “race to 5G.” It is evident that 5G will play a critical role to many people around the world. And that is normal as developing this technology was a global effort led by the United States, Europe, China, South Korea, and other countries. Unlike the minor upgrades to phones that come out every year, developing mobile standards like 3G, 4G LTE and now 5G require collaboration from physicists, electrical engineers, and other researchers around the world.

These standards are highly technical in nature and offer specific information on everything from the chips that go in your phones to the cell tower infrastructure needed to speedily and safely relay your tweets and selfies to your followers around the globe. The only way technological advances like this happen are through millions of hours of work by scientists theorizing and testing hundreds of different ways to accomplish the goal of increased speed, better energy efficiency, while being incredibly safe and secure.

These improvements set the stage for the next generation of autonomous vehicles, internet of things devices, and yes, your next smartphone. But standards-based improvements can be seen outside top of the line mobile devices and cars – they also enable the internet and the benefits the internet affords to reach new places. This can mean bringing high-speed internet to rural areas in the U.S. and first-time internet access in developing countries – bringing a tool that boosts job prospects, economic mobility, and opens the door to a wealth of information and connectivity that wouldn’t otherwise be economically feasible.

But for these groundbreaking technologies to reach users, researchers on the front lines of innovation must have incentives to spend their time and resources on mobile standards. This is how licensing helps drive new technologies.

Every time you buy a new smart phone or other device, the company that manufactured that device pays a small amount to use the technology they did not develop. Whereas every year you get a new smartphone with an upgraded camera or processor, standards change seldomly simply because of the amount of work required by highly-specialized scientists to make an improvement. And not only do these new standards need to be reliable and seamless, they must also be interoperable with other devices that may be on previous standards.

Hardware manufacturers therefore partner with companies like InterDigital to bring improvements like 5G to market, making the science of bringing the latest in mobile phone technology so simple that by 2025, 25 billion devices will live online.  This model has proven successful, with standards-based technology improving by leaps and bounds over the past 40 years – going from a measly 64kb/s in mobile connectivity speeds to now well over 1Gb/s.

However, as standards development continues to become a global endeavor, strong intellectual property protections are needed now more than ever. If companies and researchers do not have a way to protect the investments they made in their innovations, technological progress will slow. Protecting this IP means securing a portion of a $1.2 trillion industry and the 29 million jobs created directly and indirectly by the mobile connectivity ecosystem.

As companies like InterDigital contribute to finalizing the new 5G standard, actions by the Trump Administration to decrease IP theft from China, as well as new policies from the USPTO, are building confidence to encourage investment by U.S. companies that will lead to the development of exciting future technologies. Through smart policy-making and an understanding of the value of these technologies and the standardization process, the U.S. will continue to be a hub for innovation and economy will continue to grow stronger.

The Author

William Merritt

William Merritt is President and CEO of InterDigital, a mobile technology company that designs and develops advanced technologies that enable and enhance mobile communications and capabilities. Chordant is InterDigital’s Smart City-focused IoT business.

For More information or to contact William, please visit his Company Profile Page.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

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  1. Eric Berend October 10, 2018 12:43 pm

    The sheer irony of this rah-rah boosterism for 5G adoption posted on a forum in which property rights are normally revered, avoids mention of an ugly truth: because of the shorter-wave frequencies used for these purposes, each wireless 5G transmitter’s range is severely reduced as compared to the previous similar generations. this means that in order to have a practical, working network, conventional public and private real property rights must be forcibly abrogated by their owners.

    A State-level example, from California:
    https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170602005869/en/California-Senate-Passed-SB.649-—-Unconstitutional-Bill
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB649

    Already, local and State governments in the USA are being exploited to pay for the 5G buildout on the backs of U.S. taxpayers: while it can cost upwards of some $1,500 to $2,000 to deploy each of these 5G transmission points, Big telecom has induced bureaucratic rulemaking at the Federal level to limit permitting fees to a mere $20.

    http://www.eweek.com/networking/fcc-limits-local-government-ability-to-restrict-5g-deployment

    Thus: $millions of dollars are to be extorted from local and State governments, taking money away from schools, roads, police and firefighting services, and so forth – just so already incredibly wealthy telecom giants who, not incidentally, are also enthusiastic IP pirates participating in the feast of the carcass of independent U.S. inventors along with the SiliCON Valley Pirate Gang – can run roughshod over ever other legitimate property interest in the United States today.

    This does not even reach an issue of potential or actual radiation damage and harm suffered by people and animals within a sufficiently close enough range of a transmission point. These are, in real effect, open ‘microwave ovens’ with no shielding against human harm. The effects of microwave radiation are fairly well known and have been noted for decades. The Chinese Military establishment knows. A recent example, this one from the Chinese Military Medical Research agency (sorry, I don’t have a native translation for the name):

    https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186%2Fs40779-015-0033-6.pdf

    Titles such as “Reduced ATP content”, “Impaired mitochodrial DNA”, “Apoptotic death of neural cells” and “Altered gene expression in the respiratory chain” head up various sections of the paper with excellent specificity.

    These effects threaten to upend and disrupt the basic principle of ‘quiet enjoyment’ in possession of a parcel of real estate, that took some 800 years of English, British and American history to establish, to say little of its elder provenance in Roman law. Those readers with experience in real estate will recognize the fundamental principles to which I refer here.

    The sheer irony of posing a false premise of so-called “tech rights” as being legitimate in this context, is not amusing: this is merely yet another manifestation of the industrial war cry, “Move Fast and Break Things!”.

    The sooner this proposed gigantic exploit is recognized for what it is, an enormous wealth transfer to the already absurdly wealthy and powerful – the better off everyone in America will be (except for these mendacious giant leeching pirates).

    Fundamentally, in light of the history and regard for property rights established in the American Revolution, this is an outrage and a giant exploit that benefits no-one but enormous telecom and media companies. I respectfully suggest those concerned by this information follow up by contacting your local and national legislator, as soon as reasonable.

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