STOCKHOLM/BERLIN — Over a dozen automakers together with Toyota and Nissan, have signed up with a platform for patent licenses from 51 tech corporations, aiming to simplify entry to wi-fi know-how and keep away from pricey authorized battles.
Conflicts have stemmed partially from completely different views amongst carmakers, suppliers and tech companies over who ought to shoulder the price of licensing.
By way of impartial licensing market Avanci, carmakers achieve entry to patents for 2G, 3G and 4G know-how from the likes of Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericcson and Taiwan’s Acer for all the things from navigation techniques to sensors for automated driving.
Avanci expenses a flat payment of $20 per automobile, elevated this month from $15 beforehand, with the cash distributed amongst patent holders. The brand new signings — which additionally embrace Renault, Stellantis, and Honda — imply 80-85% of automobiles with 2G know-how or increased are licensed by means of the platform, Avanci vp Mark Durrant mentioned in an interview.
The mannequin permits carmakers to keep away from the battles over royalties that passed off between smartphone makers equivalent to Apple and Samsung and telecoms corporations, who negotiate one-on-one for licenses. “The auto market is simply too splintered for it to be price it for patent homeowners to barter with every particular person participant,” mentioned an trade supply, who declined to be named due to contractual agreements. “It is a matter of effectivity.
Mercedes-Benz, then Daimler, ended a years-long dispute over its patent use final 12 months with Nokia after being finally pressured to pay. Volkswagen was sued by Acer for utilizing its 4G know-how with out the suitable license. The carmaker in March signed with Avanci, which covers Acer’s patents, with a purpose to settle.
Whereas suppliers have traditionally paid for patent licenses in areas like engine design, tech companies would somewhat deal straight with carmakers over telecoms patents, in response to an auto trade supply with expertise of licensing negotiations.
“Often suppliers deal with patents within the improvement course of – telecoms is the one space the place they do not,” the individual, who declined to be named, mentioned. Avanci can also be working with corporations on a brand new contract to cowl 5G patents, which might probably be costlier than the present patent portfolio.