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Posts Tagged: "5G"

Huawei’s Patents are Not the Enemy

Here we go again! Another day, another ridiculous attack on the U.S. patent system. This time the attack comes from the R Street Institute, who claims that patents are too strong and are inhibiting American companies from achieving success in the race for leadership in the 5G marketplace and continued leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI). R Street will hold a panel discussion on their wildly outlandish theory, for which they can’t possibly have any factual support, on Tuesday, October 15, in the Capitol Visitor Center. In the announcement they claim that patents are inhibiting American companies because Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei, asserted more than 200 patents against Verizon Communications earlier this year. Therefore—and ipso facto—patents are too strong and American companies are suffering. There may be legitimate security concerns around Huawei’s infrastructure, but to suggest that the company’s patents are at the root of these threats is in a word—Absurd!

Patent Masters™ Agree on Recommendations to Curb Harm to SEPs and Overreach of Antitrust Law

Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs) exist to identify and select the best innovations entire industries will build upon. Those contributing patented technologies are asked to provide fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory assurances. In essence, patent owners contributing technologies are committing to provide access to their Standard Essential Patents (SEPs). Whether one thinks it is good or bad, it is an inescapable truth that over the last decade the patent system in the United States has become weakened. The weakened patent system, and a patent grant the Supreme Court now considers to be a “government franchise,” has shifted leverage from patent owners to technology implementers. Amidst this uncertainty, in September IPWatchdog.com held a two-day symposium to discuss the state of standard essential patents in the United States. During this symposium, overwhelming consensus was achieved by the Patent Masters™ faculty and symposium attendees on a variety of principles and recommendations.

Restrictive IP Policies Could Limit Innovation Opportunity

In the wake of fraudulent IP applications from foreign nations—namely China—the United States has recently enacted or called for policies that require foreign entities to complete more thorough IP applications. For instance, in August, we heard about the new USPTO rule requiring all foreign trademark applicants and registrants to be represented by a licensed U.S. attorney when filing. According to the USPTO website, this is intended to “increase USPTO customer compliance with U.S. trademark law and USPTO regulations, improve the accuracy of trademark submissions to the USPTO and safeguard the integrity of the U.S. trademark register.” And then just last week, news broke that the USPTO had issued new instructions requiring trademark examiners to ask applicants for proof of legal residence in the United States to enforce this new rule (note: these instructions have since been rolled back). The reasoning behind these legislations, or proposed legislations, seems to be that by making the IP application process more involved and more challenging, the USPTO will limit the number of foreign IP applications received—and therefore the number of fraudulent applications received. This will undoubtedly work, but is it the right approach?

Searching for Answers to the Standard Essential Patent Problem

Later this year (likely in October), the United Kingdom’s highest court will hear arguments on questions arising in two disputes concerning standard essential patents (SEPs). The UK Supreme Court has agreed to hear appeals in Unwired Planet International Ltd and another v Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd and another UKSC 2018/0214 and the joined cases Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and another v Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL UKSC 2019/0041 and ZTE Corporation and another v Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL UKSC 2019/0042. The arguments are likely to focus on one question: can a national court impose a global license in SEP cases? The closely watched appeal will be the culmination of years of litigation between the parties. In the Unwired Planet case, Mr. Justice Birss of the High Court heard five trials on the validity and infringement/essentiality of Unwired Planet’s patents. In April 2017, he then gave a mammoth judgment determining what a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) license would be, and setting royalty rates. Critically, he found that only a worldwide license would be FRAND in the circumstances of this case. The England and Wales Court of Appeal upheld this conclusion, in a judgment in October 2018. The Supreme Court will likely sit in a five-judge panel in a hearing that will last about two days and will be live streamed on its website (the date and panel details have not been confirmed yet). It will hand down judgment later this year or early in 2020. (Ironically, patent specialist Lord Kitchin is a member of the Supreme Court but will not be sitting in this case as it is his own judgment that is under appeal.) You might have thought that—after decades of legal debate and academic writing, dozens of judgments addressing questions such as what constitutes a FRAND license and what are reasonable royalties, and extensive discussions between technology companies—the questions around SEPs would be close to being resolved. But that is far from the case. The outcome of the UK Supreme Court hearing, for instance, will have an impact on negotiations between owners of SEP portfolios and implementers worldwide, at a time when standards are set to become critical to many more industries.

‘Not Just Another G’: Apple’s Intel Purchase Underscores the Sprint to 5G

Earlier this summer, Intel announced that some 8,500 patent assets (i.e., issued patents and pending patent applications) would be auctioned. Approximately 6,000 assets related to 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular standards, while 1,700 assets relate to wireless implementation of cellular standards. According to initial reports from IAM, Intel was hoping to sell these patents separately from the smartphone modem business, although they were open to the possibility that a prospective buyer might seek to acquire both the patent assets and Intel’s smartphone modem business. Shortly after the Intel patent assets were announced as available for sale, Intel abruptly took the assets off the market in favor of negotiating with a single interested suitor. Very quickly, news broke that the negotiations with that unidentified suitor were quite advanced, suggesting that the Intel auction announcement was nothing more than a negotiating ploy to get the unidentified suitor back to the table and for the suitor to realize that they could lose the patent assets if they did not play their hand correctly and misidentified the leverage involved in the negotiation. It has recently come to light that the unidentified suitor for the Intel patent assets was none other than Apple, just as IAM has predicted in its initial reporting. So, now we know that Apple will buy the majority of Intel’s modem business, including the patent assets, for $1 billion. 

This Week On Capitol Hill: Copyright Office Oversight, More Debate on Cryptocurrencies, and 5G Innovation and Security

This week on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives is in recess but in the Senate, committee hearings will focus on the rescheduled oversight hearing for the U.S. Copyright Office, regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and implementation of positive train control technologies. Elsewhere in Washington, D.C., the Brookings Institution will look at international threats to American space security while the Center for Strategic and International Studies will host an event with multiple panels exploring innovation and security issues in 5G networks. Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also hosted an event in Alexandria, VA, discussing the agency’s trademark auditing program.

This Week on Capitol Hill: Space Commerce, Energy Innovation and Modernizing Congress’ IT

This week in our nation’s capital, the House of Representatives hosts a series of hearings in the middle of the week on various technology topics including carbon mitigation efforts, modernizing information technology systems in Congress, sustainable chemistry innovations and examination of the White House’s science budget. In. Elsewhere in D.C., the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation explores law enforcement use…

This Week in Washington: Security in 5G Networks, Setting Standards, for AI and Promoting Civil Liberties in CIA Data Collection

This week, both houses of Congress sit silent during scheduled work periods, although the House Infrastructure Subcommittee will host a hearing on rural broadband Internet access in Minnesota. Back in Washington, D.C., tech and innovation think tanks kick off the week with an event on bridging the STEM education gap hosted by the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. Later in the week, the American Enterprise Institute explores issues in promoting security in 5G networks, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation meets at the NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg to discuss standards setting for artificial intelligence tech, and the Brookings Institution focuses on the CIA’s efforts to police online channels to identify threats while balancing those activities with Americans’ civil liberties.

Patent Trend Study Part Twelve: Mobile Phone Industry

Yesterday, we discussed patenting trends in the cleantech industry. Today, we turn to the mobile phone industry, which has matured with fewer reasons for frequent consumer upgrades while standards drive toward better efficiency and data rates to find even more uses for the platforms. The mobile phone industry has exploded over the last decade with nearly all U.S. consumers owning a smart phone. Additionally, many Internet of Things (IoT) devices have gained cellular modems, along with modern heavy equipment having a data connection for telemetry. The wireless standards have innovation that comes in waves, with 3G and 4G/LTE reaching maturation, while 5G has a solid upward trend. The supply chain for mobile phone manufacture has largely moved overseas and many brands have disappeared or moved overseas. Even though the two mobile operating systems are just over a decade old, we are seeing the pace of software innovation plateau with a couple million apps in the respective platform stores. The ubiquity of cellular data will bring the underlying technology to many different industries in the years to come, as the maturity of the industry allows the focus to move away from the platform itself.

Other Barks and Bites, Friday, May 3: CASE Act, China Leads in 5G SEPs, and SCOTUS Requests Government’s Views in Oracle v. Google

This week in IP news: the CASE Act, which would create a small claims system for copyright claims, is reintroduced in both houses of Congress; Qualcomm earns a massive $4.5 billion payment from its settlement with Apple; the U.S. Supreme Court seeks input from the Solicitor General on Oracle v. Google; and China amends its trademark law, increases copyright actions, and earns more than one-third of all 5G SEPs.

IP and Innovation on Capitol Hill: Week of March 18

This week in Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill is silent due to district work periods for the House of Representatives and state work periods for the Senate. However, the nation’s capital is still very busy with a collection of think tank events related to innovation and technology. A pair of events at New America looks at how technology and social media can stem the tide of extremist ideologies or how advances in DNA testing can help solve cold cases. Cybersecurity challenges at the next Summer Olympic Games are the topic of discussion at the Wilson Center. The Heritage Foundation also hosts a pair of events looking at how the Constitutional Framers viewed property and issues with China-based Huawei’s dominance in 5G. Closing out the week is a Friday event at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation exploring challenges to the U.S. Postal Service in the e-commerce era.

Qualcomm, Google, Verizon and Industry Reps Gather for Women’s High-Tech Coalition Women of Wireless Dialogue

On February 13, global policymakers and technology company representatives gathered in Washington, D.C. at Google’s offices for the Women’s High-Tech Coalition (WHTC) Third Annual “Women of Wireless” dialogue. The speakers represented companies including Google, Verizon, and Qualcomm, as well as major industry organizations such as the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and discussed the various infrastructure, policy, and privacy challenges facing the industry in the race to 5G-implementation. With a record number of women elected to the 116th Session of the U.S. Congress and recent White House Executive Orders on technology issues— including this month’s “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI),” an expected executive order on 5G technology, and likely Congressional briefings and hearings focused on wireless innovation—the WHTC is an integral network of stakeholders to discuss these issues and to develop opportunities for strategic partnerships and shared initiatives.

Standard Essential Patents: The Myths and Realities of Standard Implementation

Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) are patents that are unavoidable for the implementation of a standardized technology. They represent core, pioneering innovation that entire industries will build upon. These patents protect innovation that has taken extraordinary effort to achieve. Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) exist as a mechanism for industry innovators to work together to collectively identify and select the best and most promising innovations that will become the foundation for the entire industry to build upon for years to come. Those contributing patented technologies to the development of a standard are asked to provide a FRAND (which stands for Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) assurance, in essence committing to providing access to patents that are or may become essential to the implementation of the standard.

IP and Innovation on Capitol Hill: Week of February 4

This week on Capitol Hill, committee hearings in the U.S. Senate will focus on innovations related to financial systems, the race to 5G network connectivity and advances in energy-related technologies. In the U.S. House of Representatives, net neutrality makes its return as a hotly-debated topic, while the House Science Committee sets its rules for the 116th Congress, including the delegation of federally-funded research oversight to subcommittees. Elsewhere in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce releases the 2019 version of its International IP Index and the American Enterprise Institute hosts an event to look at the impact of technological advances on higher education.

ITC’s Chance to Restore Reason and the Public Interest in the Qualcomm v. Apple Case

An administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission recently found patent infringement in Qualcomm’s case against Apple, but then inexplicably refused to recommend that the commission issue an exclusion order against infringer Apple. Is there some new standard that “established and profitable companies” are no longer deserving of ITC action?  The International Trade Commission is in danger of causing the same harm to patent rights as the U.S. Supreme Court has inflicted on patent owners with the court’s lame-brained eBay decision.