Avanci Announces BlackBerry as a New Patent Owner in its Licensing Platform

DALLAS, TEXAS- Avanci’s licensing platform further expands today as it welcomes one of the wireless industry’s foremost technology innovators, BlackBerry. As one of the pioneers of wireless technology, BlackBerry has a broad portfolio of standard essential 2G, 3G and 4G wireless patents and is a vital part of the advancing mobile world.

The Avanci licensing platform offers licensees a simple and efficient way to gain technology rights at a fair and flat rate, while at the same time allowing licensor’s a return on their R&D efforts. Having BlackBerry as part of the platform is a major step towards the creation of a true one-stop collaborative licensing platform.


About Avanci

Avanci has a vision that sharing technology, on a broad scale for the Internet of Things industry, can be simpler. Our connected world is evolving quickly – and we want to help it all happen even faster. Our one-stop solution keeps the success of the ecosystem squarely in sight, bringing convenience and predictability to the technology licensing process. In our new marketplace, those with essential patents can share their innovations, and companies creating connected products for the Internet of Things can access the patented wireless technology they need to be successful – in one place, with one agreement and for one fair, flat rate. Founded in 2016, Avanci is headquartered in Dallas. For more information about Avanci, please visit http://www.avanci.com.

PRESS CONTACT:
Sophie Skaggs
Director of Marketing & Communications
469-235-4619
media@avanci.com

IP Bridge Joins the Avanci’s Licensing Platform of Wireless Communications SEPs for IoT Products

Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IP Bridge, Inc. (“IP Bridge”), announced that it joined the patent licensing platform launched and administrated by Avanci, LLC (“Avanci”) as a licensor in terms of its own wireless communications standards essential patents.

The licensing platform administrated by Avanci is a structure or program that offers one-stop licenses for patented wireless technologies of 2G, 3G and 4G standards to the Internet of Things (IoT) products such as Connected Car, Smart Meter and so on. The licenses are granted for companies which need to use the technologies for their IoT business on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). The companies intending to enter the IoT industry will be relieved from spending excessive resources for negotiating individual licenses with multiple patent holders by taking this one stop licenses through the platform, and will be able to operate the IoT business in transparent environment.

IP Bridge would contribute to the healthy growth of the IoT industry through joining as a licensor in the Avanci’s efficient and transparent licensing platform.

About Avanci: http://avanci.com/

About IP Bridge

 At IP Bridge, our focus is on promoting technological innovation and cooperation within Japan and around the world. We’ve worked with our investors, including Innovation Network Corporation of Japan – a unique partnership between 26 major corporations and the Japanese government – to establish the first and largest fund in Japan (approximately $300M) aimed at global innovation and IP-related investments. Our mission is to activate and leverage high-quality, under-utilized intellectual property assets to the benefit of a variety of IP owners based in and outside of Japan. And our vision is that these activities will stimulate economic development and a healthy growth of industries worldwide.

 We’ve worked with leading technology companies, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and universities to build large, high quality portfolios of 3,500 worldwide patents and growing, including patents in the fields of wireless communications, semiconductors, video codecs, display technologies, automotive technologies, robotics, home appliances, electric devices, healthcare, environment and energy, food technologies, and medical engineering.

 Our world class team includes experienced professionals from IP and corporate management of major technology companies, investment funds, financial institutions, and law firms. We have the global experience and relationships to provide comprehensive IP services, including IP-based business incubation, monetization, licensing and financing to generate revenue and fuel innovation and business expansion, syndicated transactions to remove potential IP risks to our clients, and IP consulting services to build IP strategies, maximize IP value, and best position our clients for success.

Carmakers Want Silicon Valley’s Tech Without Its Patent Wars

As automakers turn their vehicles into app-laden computers on wheels, there’s one habit they don’t want to acquire from Silicon Valley: fighting over patents in court.

Manufacturers from BMW AG to Hyundai Motor Co. to Ford Motor Co. are trying to learn from the smartphone wars, which cost technology companies hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees, as they prepare to revolutionize their vehicles.

“No sane automaker wants to repeat these wars, where the lawyers were the only winners,” said William Coughlin, chief executive officer of Ford Global Technologies, Ford’s intellectual property arm.

Automakers have ramped up their patent applications as they compete to roll out crash avoidance systems, on-board Wi-Fi and cars that can drive themselves. To avoid court battles over who gets paid and how much, competitors are banding together to jointly license technology, use non-proprietary software and buying or challenging patents that might be used in lawsuits against them.

Both Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford were among the top 21 recipients of U.S. patents last year, with 1,540 and 1,530, putting them in company with Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, according to figures compiled by the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

Toyota’s recent patents cover ways to keep a vehicle in the proper lane and respond correctly at a traffic signal; Ford won rights to sensors that gather data from other vehicles and a system to measure customer satisfaction by expressions or statements made while driving.

The smartphone wars that began in 2010 were sparked by a clash of the phone and computer industries and pitted iPhone-maker Apple against manufacturers of phones that ran on Android, the operating system owned by Google. Microsoft Corp. also got swept in when it demanded royalties on phones that used Android.

Technology companies frequently resolve patent disputes — others have been over computer memory, networking and video cards — in court. But the big automakers tend to settle their fights more informally or let suppliers duke it out.

One way is by joining with other companies to share technologies. Many of the groups that are attracting automakers as members were created by Silicon Valley companies to limit the number of lawsuits filed by licensing firms known as patent assertion entities — or by the pejorative term “troll.”

Ford, Honda Motor Co., Hyundai, Tesla Inc. and Volkswagen AG are members of the LOT Network, a non-profit consortium in which companies pledge to continue to make their patents available to all members even if they sell them to another firm. Daimler AG, Ford, and Toyota are among those belonging to Unified Patents, which challenges patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ford also is a member of RPX Corp., a risk management service that buys up patents and challenges patents that already have been issued.

Last week, BMW became the latest automaker to enter a licensing deal, agreeing to pay a per-car fee to gain access to a “pool” of patents related to wireless industry standards from companies including Qualcomm, Ericsson AB, Sony Corp. and eight others.

Pricing Patents

“They see every day there is litigation and they don’t want that,” said Kasim Alfalahi, head of Avanci LLC, a Dallas-based group that operates the patent pool. “They say, ‘We have looked at this, we have studied this and we would like to avoid it.’ ”

Figuring out the proper royalty rates for use of industry standard technology has led to global fights among technology companies, the most prominent being Apple and Qualcomm’s three-continent combat over what patent fees Qualcomm collects from each iPhone.

Automakers “look at the fights right now, and they understand that a lot of it has to deal with the pricing and expectations,” said Alfalahi, who was Ericsson’s top intellectual property counsel before starting Avanci.

Another way carmakers are cutting costs is by using non-patented technology.

‘Wild West’

Open Invention Network, which buys and cross licenses patents related to the open source Linux operating system, has signed up companies such as General Motors Co. and Daimler, giving them free access so they can then build their own individual applications for on-board systems to monitor traffic patterns, help cars avoid crashes or perform other functions akin to a computer or smartphone.

Keith Bergelt, the network’s CEO, said the battle between Apple and phones that used Google’s Android operating system “created a culture that brought out the worst in many companies.”

The automotive industry hasn’t been completely immune to litigation. When it comes to self-driving vehicles, it’s still somewhat of a “Wild West,” with companies all over the country doing research and hoping to come up with the next big thing. That’s already spawned a nasty fight, with Alphabet’s Waymo claiming Uber Technologies Inc. stole trade secrets for the laser-based sensors known as Lidar.

Thousands of cars now run Apple and Google’s operating systems for infotainment through their dashboard touchscreens in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford and BMW are integrating the Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo into their dashboards.

A big chunk of the lawsuits against tech companies were an outgrowth of the dot-com bust, during which sharks picked up patents from bankrupt internet companies and then demanded royalties from companies that were still in business. Companies like Delphi Automotive Plc have expressed concern that the same thing may happen to companies that don’t succeed in the autonomous car market, said Bruce Rubinger, founder of Global Prior Art, which conducts research on the validity of patents.

The automakers and suppliers have been investing in technology companies, so they will own rights to some of the research no matter what happens with the company, Rubinger said.

The relatively slow pace of change in the auto industry can help it avoid some legal problems. In the technology industry, new products are introduced every 18 months, but it can take four years or more for a new feature to go from the design stage to the showroom floor.

“Car manufacturing is different from that perspective — it’s not like smartphones where you can just outsource it,” said Shawn Ambwani, co-founder of Unified Patents. “There are very few players who get into the market. Market share doesn’t change dramatically every five years.”

And the auto industry will be able to draw on the legacy of the technology industry’s patent cases. Court rulings make it easier to invalidate patents and lower the amount of damages that can be awarded. Legislation also created a new procedure at the U.S. patent office that’s been embraced by Silicon Valley for its reputation as a “death squad” for patents.

So far there have been few lawsuits over the new cars, though Ford’s Coughlin said they will come because “everybody wants to protect their investments.” Still, he said, he’s not expecting a lot of patent litigation “unless somebody is acting unreasonably.”

— With assistance by Keith Naughton

Avanci Announces Pricing for Auto Sector – Range from $3 to $15 per car

Richard Lloyd

Avanci, the platform headed by former Ericsson CIPO Kasim Alfalahi focused on licensing wireless technology into different verticals in the Internet of Things (IoT), has published its royalty rates for car companies. Licensees will be expected to pay between $3 and $15 per car depending on the level of wireless technology in the vehicle. The news comes a little over a week since Avanci announced that German car giant BMW had signed up as its first licensee.

For the most basic level of connectivity, which gives drivers the ability to make emergency calls, manufacturers will have to pay $3 per vehicle. For 2G and 3G wireless technology (including emergency calls) the price is $9 and for 4G (which also includes 2G/3G and emergency call functionality) it is $15. The price will remain fixed regardless of whether additional patent owners join Avanci.

The news comes more than a year since Avanci launched with the aim of simplifying the licensing process for mobile technology in the car industry, as well as in other IoT verticals including smart meters and connected homes (Avanci is yet to announce its rate for either of those sectors).

We have spent a lot of time talking to all of the stakeholders who are willing to engage with us to understand the telecom culture and the automaker culture which is very different,” Alfalahi commented. “The aim was to find a common ground between these two industries and I think we’ve got a price that auto companies are willing to pay and which is fair and reasonable.”

The announcement of Avanci’s pricing structure provides the auto industry with the first clear guidance on what it can expect to pay for a licence to wireless patents that cover a significant part of the total SEP universe. Alfalahi has claimed that Avanci’s licensors – which include Qualcomm, Ericsson and ZTE and, most recently, Japanese sovereign patent fund IP Bridge – covers almost 50% of the standard essential patents (SEPs) relating to 2G, 3G and 4G technology. As connected cars have come onto the market and with vehicles set to become increasingly sophisticated, thanks to the forces of convergence, so auto makers and their suppliers have been facing up to a very different patent licensing world.

Avanci’s fixed price applies to all makes of car and does not depend on a vehicle’s final price, which means that an automaker will be paying the same for connectivity whether its Hyundai or Ferrari. “This model means it’s very easy for companies to understand that everyone is being treated the same and getting the same deal,” Alfalahi stressed.

The rate will also apply worldwide and so will not vary according to where the cars are sold, which is in contrast to some licensing pools like Via, which have started to introduce different rates for domestic manufacturers in emerging markets. Alfalahi admitted that they had looked at the option of offering differential rates but had ultimately decided against. “For us it’s really a matter of having a very clear, simple model and a customer who thinks that this is a fair price,” he said.

It is notable that in its recently issued Communication on SEP licensing, the European Commission put a great deal of emphasis on the importance of transparency and on the role that patent pools could play in enabling the diffusion of IoT-related technology. With today’s announcement, Avanci looks to be delivering on both fronts.

So is it a fair price? According to auto industry data source, Kelley Blue Book, the average price of a new car or light vehicle in the US is around $35,000. That means that Avanci’s top rate of $15 represents about 0.04% of an average car’s price. If Alfalahi is right about the proportion of the mobile SEPs that Avanci’s licensors currently own, then, using his number as a guide, the price to license the entire SEP universe for 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity in a car currently should be around $30 – assuming that no more patent owners join Avanci. As a proportion of the final price of a typical car that’s much less than SEP owners receive for a smartphone whose functionality depends more on its connectivity than a car’s currently does. That said, a car’s connectivity is only going to become more important as vehicles becomes more sophisticated.

That calculation of $30 also assumes that no more patent owners will join Avanci which would mean that it wouldn’t grow the proportion of SEPs that it has to license. That seems unlikely which means that the overall price of connectivity for a manufacturer effectively drops as more IP owners sign onto the platform.

Whether this pricing structure results in push back from the industry remains to be seen. Things will become clearer if and when Avanci announces more deals. But given the amount of time it has taken for this announcement to be made it’s going to be hard for licensors and licensees to argue that they at least haven’t done their homework.

Avanci Announces IP Bridge as a New Patent Owner in its Licensing Platform

DALLAS, TEXAS- Today Avanci announces that IP Bridge has joined its IoT licensing platform as a new patent owner. IP Bridge’s goal is to promote technological innovation and cooperation within Japan and around the world. By working with Avanci, this mission will be furthered through Avanci’s innovative platform that connects standard essential patent owners to IoT companies.

Avanci is making essential wireless technology available to innovators of any scale – accelerating the time-to-market for new products and reducing business risk. IP Bridge is a major player in mobile patent licensing, and by joining the platform their intellectual property will become available to the IoT in a very efficient way.

About Avanci
Avanci has a vision that sharing technology, on a broad scale for the Internet of Things industry, can be simpler. Our connected world is evolving quickly – and we want to help it all happen even faster. Our one-stop solution keeps the success of the ecosystem squarely in sight, bringing convenience and predictability to the technology licensing process. In our new marketplace, those with essential patents can share their innovations, and companies creating connected products for the Internet of Things can access the patented wireless technology they need to be successful – in one place, with one agreement and for one fair, flat rate. Founded in2016, Avanci is headquartered in Dallas. For more information about Avanci, please visit http://www.avanci.com.

PRESS CONTACT:
Sophie Skaggs
Director of Marketing & Communications
469-235-4619
media@avanci.com

Deal with BMW is the First of Many with Auto-makers, says Avanci Boss

Richard Lloyd

German car giant BMW has become the first automaker to take a licence with Avanci, the patent licensing platform for certain Internet of Things (IoT) industry verticals headed by former Ericsson chief IP officer Kasim Alfalahi.

The news was announced late last week with the press release from Avanci revealing that while the deal has been agreed with BMW, it will to a large extent be handled through the German carmaker’s supplier for telematics units. The release did not name that supplier although according to a 2012 article in Telematics News the Germany company Peiker Acustic is the supplier of LTE internet hotspot technology to BMW.

The agreement with BMW comes almost 15 months after Avanci officially launched to license 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technology in a number of IoT verticals including auto, connected homes and smart meters. Qualcomm, InterDigital, Ericsson, ZTE and KPN were first to sign up as licensors and have since been joined by the likes of Sharp, Panasonic and Vodafone.

Attempts to pool wireless patents have largely failed in the past because most of the big players such as Qualcomm and Ericsson have refused to sign up. That does give Avanci an edge and Alfalahi claimed that the platform has around 50% of all 2G, 3G and 4G standard essential patents. What it had been lacking, until BMW signed up, was a licensee.

Alfalahi, who was speaking to the IAM blog shortly after the deal was announced, admitted that putting the first agreement in place was particularly significant. He then added: “I think BMW decided to do the right thing to put this agreement in place knowing that they get 11 companies’ patent portfolios with just one signature.”

It’s not clear yet just how much BMW is paying as Avanci has so far declined to make its royalty rates public. Alfalahi insisted that they remained committed to publishing thesde and that they would do so soon. “We wanted this announcement to be focused on the actual deal with BMW, we didn’t want the focus to be on pricing or anything like that but we are committed to publishing the price,” he said.

Despite Avanci’s collection of patents and the licensing expertise of Alfalahi and his team, they have been faced with an auto industry that is unaccustomed to the licensing practices of the mobile world and other tech sectors. Traditionally a complex web of cross-licensing agreements has covered the automakers and their universe of suppliers meaning that patent infringement disputes have been very rare.

As more technology, including wireless, has been incorporated into new vehicles and new players such as Waymo have emerged as significant players in autonomous vehicle development, so speculation has mounted that the car giants might be pitched into the kind of patent litigation battles that dominated the smartphone industry for a number of years. Avanci and other licensing platforms should theoretically help avert those kinds of disputes, but it was always going to be a challenge to convince car makers to start taking licences at a price that works for both patent owners and prospective licensees to technology that is still relatively rare in most cars on the road.

The BMW deal suggests that Alfalahi and co have been making significant headway, but the question now is whether more carmakers will follow. The Avanci head was in no doubt on that one. “My prediction is that all the automakers will take a licence from Avanci and that more and more patent holders will be added to our licence,” Alfalahi insisted.

Avanci Announces Patent License Agreement – BMW Group Becomes New Licensee of the Avanci Platform, Securing License to Standard Essential Patents for Cellular Standards

Dallas, Texas – Today, Avanci announced that it has signed a patent license agreement with BMW Group that will to a large extent be handled through its supplier for telematics units, providing them access to the essential wireless technology of many different telecommunication and patent holding companies.

As part of Avanci’s mission to streamline patent licensing for the Internet of Things, it provides license rights to 2G, 3G and 4G essential patents at a fair, flat rate that is the same for all vehicles regardless of the price and the number of telematics units installed. This rate will not increase over the term of the license, no matter how many additional patent owners join the platform in the future beyond the 11 companies that have joined the platform to date.

“Our agreement demonstrates our commitment to finding a common ground between the different industries that must cooperate together in the Internet of Things,” said Kasim Alfalahi, founder and chief executive officer of Avanci. “Ultimately, we’re committed to provide a simpler way to handle licensing in the IoT space by taking into account both patent owners’ and IoT device manufacturers’ business models to increase certainty, reduce risk and streamline technology sharing for all involved.”

About Avanci
Avanci has a vision that sharing technology, on a broad scale for the Internet of Things industry, can be simpler. Our connected world is evolving quickly – and we want to help it all happen even faster. Our one-stop solution keeps the success of the ecosystem squarely in sight, bringing convenience and predictability to the technology licensing process. In our new marketplace, those with essential patents can share their innovations, and companies creating connected products for the Internet of Things can access the patented wireless technology they need to be successful – in one place, with one agreement and for one fair, flat rate. Founded in 2016, Avanci is headquartered in Dallas. For more information about Avanci, please visithttp://www.avanci.com.

PRESS CONTACT:
Sophie Skaggs
Director of Marketing & Communications
469-235-4619
media@avanci.com