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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

OFDM Patents Resurface

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The curious case of the OFDM patents owned by Qualcomm has taken a new twist. QC has finally licensed its OFDM patents, which came into the bag along with Flarion, to SOMA Networks. It does not disclose which exact patents are being licensed. The press release is even more frightening.
patent license to develop, manufacture and sell OFDM/OFDMA subscriber units, modem cards and infrastructure equipment.
That includes virtually everything. A big reason for the WiMAX forum to be worried. QC is not known to be a backer of WiMAX and if they do start enforcing those patents vigorously, as they have done before, there will be trouble.

Interestingly this news comes just a few days after QC's warning that the CDMA patents licensing deal with Nokia might not be renewed at all, which might hurt its revenues this quarter. QC it seems takes an astounding 4.5 % of the cost of each CDMA mobile phone sold! No wonder its raking in millons.

But then the next generation networks are being built upon open standards, with an effort to keep licensing costs out of the way. And if it goes as expected then QC's business model is doomed. Unless they get some of thier patents somehow in. As evident, they have succeeded with WiMAX.

Previous Posts: BigBRO. QC Penalised. EVDO vs DSL. QC Media.

Tags: WiMAX OFDM IPR QC Nokia Flarion
posted by Rajiv, 1:59 PM


Sorry. But that's not the right assessment. Qualcomm's patenting does not affect WiMAX. Certain OFDM techniques as developed by Flarion are unique implementations, and nobody has to implement it to be WiMAX compatible. Qualcomm's game in WiMAX is not similar to what happened with CDMA. In those days of CDMA, the whole world espoused the version of CDMA promoted by Qualcomm (IS-95) and hence had to pay for the patents.

In WiMAX, the version of OFDM that is promoted by WIMAX forum (as IEEE 802.16-2004 and IEEE 802.16e where Intel is pushing it) completely avoids Qualcomm's version (Flarion's acquisition).
Said Anonymous Sujai, 5:51 AM  

In that case why is WiMAX forum worried? The news article says that it has asked it members to reveal which patents are they infringing.

Also here's another link. The "Intellectual property issues" section has some interesting insights.
Said Anonymous Rajiv, 7:27 AM  

Qualcomm has no patent rights in WIMAX.

A small canadian company called WI-LAN does. They were the founding company in the Wi-max forum. They own the essential fundamental patents to WIFi/ and WIMAX.
Said Anonymous Anonymous, 11:38 AM  

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