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is an attorney and a general manager at Unified Patents. He has been working at Unified Patents since 2014. He received degrees in math and physics in 2007 from Rice University and received his Juris Doctorate in 2013 from Harvard Law School. Prior to joining Unified Patents, Sam worked as a software developer at a financial company and then as an engineer at a satellite company.
A wave of thousands of 5G Self-Declared Standard Essential Patents (SD-SEPs) applicable to everything from devices to network infrastructure is fast approaching. The value of these patents is 6-10% of the retail product value, if recent LTE SEPs court decisions are to be believed. However, ex ante 5G licensing rates announced by traditional licensors Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, and Interdigital total around $18 (or 3.6%) on a $500 handset. Yet these licensors hold less than 17.4% of the relevant 5G SD-SEP families, which would make the total royalty burden 20% or higher. Implementers faced with high SEP licensing cost and uncertainty typically mitigate risk by: (1) using licensed components, (2) receiving indemnification, and (3) leveraging defensive portfolios. But there is another strategy that should be considered given the tools which are now available: preemptively challenging patent family validity in foreign jurisdictions that are relatively quick, inexpensive and often more effective.