Patent News

Mar. 27, 2015

EE Times Blog: Why We Disagree with the IEEE’s Patent Policy, by Bill Merritt

This post originally appeared in EE Times Blog on March 27, 2015.

Last week, our company sent an open letter to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the standards-setting organization that brings us Wi-Fi among other things. In that letter, we advised the group we don’t agree with its new patent policy and that in the future our company won’t be submitting IEEE’s Letters of Assurance, but will provide alternative licensing assurances on a case-by-case basis. I want to explain to you — technology people, like us — why we chose to do that and what it means.

Our company has almost 200 engineers focused on very advanced technology. We pay to conduct research, whiteboard out advanced algorithms, fly people around the world so they can collaborate on, or argue over, mathematical formulae or interference mitigation schemes, for the benefit of everyone in the industry.

We do this work because if you’re successful at it, you make money. Not crazy money — there are a lot of bogus figures out there — and nothing that changes the cost category of a device or makes a profitable company unprofitable. In fact, because the research is shared across the industry, the process lowers the costs of devices by allowing the companies to effectively share R&D expenses.