Ericsson’s former chief intellectual property officer is hoping his new platform for licensing patented technology related to the Internet of Things will catch on with innovators diving into the area.
Kasim Alfalahi has already lured big-name patent-holders to the platform, named Avanci. Ericsson, Qualcomm, InterDigital, KPN and ZTE have all signed on. Thursday, Avanci added Sony to the mix.
Ericsson announced in February that it would spin out the new independent platform with Alfalahi, who served as Ericsson’s CIPO for 5 years, at the helm. Avanci makes it easier on IoT inventors looking to cease cellular technology to connect their inventions.
An exponentially growing number of things and devices will be connected and communicating to each other in the coming years as the Internet of Things expands. Some of the products will use 2G, 3G and 4G networks to gain connectivity.
Ericsson and Qualcomm are among the leaders in the technology that makes such connections possible. But Alfalahi says the tech generally spreads across several patents, which can make licensing a nightmare. Manufacturers have been left to negotiate with several companies to license patented tech for their own products.
Alfalahi’s platform centralizes the process. Inventors decide what tech they need and license it through Avanci for a flat rate per unit. Then, Avanci splits up the fee and pays companies that own patents the particular technology touches, keeping a cut of the revenue for itself.
The flat rate will change depending on the product in which it’s used.
“The value of connectivity in a smart meter or a trash can is different from the value of connectivity in a car,” Alfalahi told the Dallas Business Journal.
Alfalahi said he has high hopes to add more companies to the fold – and that it’s been a warm reception thus far. Upon its launch this week, Ericsson and Qualcomm put out statements in support of the platform.
“Avanci’s licensing platform enables the adoption of our essential wireless technology among IoT device manufacturers, accelerates the development of the Internet of Things and the global uptake of LTE for IoT,” said Gustav Brismark, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson.