Wideband agreement

NTT DoCoMo, Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens have reached a mutual understanding to license patents for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access at rates proportional to the number of patents owned by each company.

NTT DoCoMo, Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens have reached a mutual understanding to license essential patents for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) at rates proportional to the number of essential patents owned by each company.

The intention is to set a benchmark for all patent holders of the W-CDMA technology to achieve fair and reasonable royalty rates. The companies together own the clear majority of the essential Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) relevant to the W-CDMA standard selected already by about 110 operators worldwide. This arrangement would enable the cumulative royalty rate for W-CDMA to be set at a modest single digit level, according to the suppliers.

Japanese manufacturers Fujitsu, Matsushita Communication Industrial (Panasonic), Mitsubishi Electric, NEC and Sony Corporation have also expressed their willingness to co-operate with such arrangements. ‘It is of the utmost importance for the mobile communication industry and in the interest of both licensors and licensees that the cumulative royalty cost of W-CDMA is maintained at a competitive level which encourages both greater growth and innovation in the industry,’ said Lothar Pauly, board member of the Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group.

‘As we – the major IPR holders – make our patents available we ensure that W-CDMA stays an open and globally acceptable technology.’ ‘This initiative is meaningful for promoting the W-CDMA services by keeping the cumulative royalty rate below 5%,’ said Kota Kinoshita, Executive Vice President of NTT DoCoMo.

The W-CDMA standard has been developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). In the 3GPP standardisation process, the declaration of essential IPRs is mandatory. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) in Japan maintains an updated list of IPR declarations for 3GPP.