Ray Horak provides litigation support as a consulting expert and testifying expert in cases involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), product/service misrepresentation, contract disputes, and intellectual property (patent, copyright, and trademark/service mark infringement) disputes, as well as issues of taxes and fees allegedly owed to 911 districts and municipalities. Those cases have involved a broad range of technologies, including Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems (ATDSs), text messaging, cellular, DSL, E911, fax, PBX, prepaid cellular, push-to-talk (PTT), videoconferencing, VoIP, and voice processing.
He also has performed numerous technical compliance reviews of the telephony systems that financial institutions and survey companies and their third party vendors employ in sales, collections, customer service and opinion polling. The objective of those engagements, several of which are ongoing, is to determine the specific nature and capacities (present, potential and theoretical) of the telephony systems (e.g., ATDS and PBX) and subsystems, the systems of record (i.e., databases), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Receivables Management (RM) systems, and any and all other peripheral systems, both premises- and cloud-based.
Ray is an Independent Consultant with a General Practice in Wireline and Wireless Telecommunications and Related Fields such as the Internet and Voice over IP. His 45 years’ experience includes management and executive positions with Southwestern Bell, CONTEL, and Executone. Ray authored the best-selling Communications Systems & Networks, (John Wiley & Sons), Telecommunications and Data Communications Handbook (Wiley-Interscience), and Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary(Webster’s New World). Previously, Ray was Senior Contributing Editor for Newton’s Telecom Dictionary (12th through 21st Editions). He has written hundreds of technical white papers, case studies, articles, and columns for major print and electronic publications such as CommWeb, Computer Telephony, Datapro, Network World, The Prepaid Press, Teleconnect, and Telecom Reseller. Ray also has served as Technical Editor for several book-length works, including Deploying Secure 802.11 Wireless Networks with Microsoft Windows (Microsoft Press, 2003).
In the context of the Facebook v Duguid decision, considering all the issues it addressed and didn’t, clarified and confused, honest and conscientious actors have to be freshly concerned about TCPA compliance. That means checking all the boxes, doubling down on all the right things, and identifying and plugging all the holes in your call center operations.
Not particularly surprising to those of us who work in the TCPA domain or are impacted by it, the published articles, blogs and such are mostly, if not all, written by attorneys in the defendants’ bar. I reckon those in the plaintiffs’ bar like to keep their opinions, musings and strategies to themselves until the litigation process begins. I provided some TCPA background and context in a previous article, TCPA: Facebook v Duguid, but will repeat some of that here to refresh your memory.
The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in the matter of Facebook v Duguid has been perhaps the single most anticipated in the realm of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), at least in the last decade or so, and all over a punctuation mark - a comma, to be exact.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was passed into law in 1991. At the time, consumers were plagued by sales calls which it seemed always came at the most inconvenient times...In an effort to address a growing number of telephone marketing calls and certain other telemarketing practices...
Most of us know, at least in general terms, about the restrictions on unsolicited telemarketing calls to consumers and the national Do-Not-Call (DNC) list designed to end those annoyances...or opportunities, depending on your perspective. Just to refresh your memory, the TCPA states "It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, or any person outside the United States if the recipient is within the United States—(A) to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone dialing system [ATDS] or an artificial or prerecorded voice
In an effort to address a growing number of telephone marketing calls and certain other telemarketing practices thought to be invasions of privacy, Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), codified at 47 U.S.C. § 227.
An instant classic and a best seller, with more than 65,000 in print. It served as the basis for Horak’s more contemporary works, Telecommunications and Data Communications Handbook (2008) and Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary (2007).
A comprehensive and authoritative telecommunications dictionary of more than 4,600 terms essential to a clear and thorough understanding of voice, data, video, and multimedia communications system and network technologies, applications, and regulations. Webster’s is an absolutely unimpeachable resource written by a recognized expert in the field. Webster’s enjoys great critical acclaim, as do all of Horak’s works.
The one book you’ll need to understand the entire telecom landscape, from copper to fiber, wireline to wireless, LANs to MANs to WANs, TDM to IP, AAL to Zigbee and everything in between. Written in a plain-English, commonsense style by an authority on the subject, this critically acclaimed book is at just the right level for the serious professional who wants to get at the whole truth—without the math.
Electrical Engineering Statistician and Consultant Mark McFarland
Discovery Engineering is a private Engineering Firm based in Boulder, Colorado, performing investigations into Electrical, Electronic, and Communications Systems. Discovery Engineering also works with management to analyze risk, improve quality, and understand variability processes. Clients include industrial, commercial, research, legal, government, and private entities.
Mark McFarland, PE, Founder & CEO, is an Licensed Engineer and Statistician with over 25 years of extensive education and experience in applied statistics, statistical learning, artificial intelligence, electrical engineering, and communications. His practical experience includes the design, analysis, and testing of satellite, cellular, LTE, Internet, wireless, Wi-Fi, RADAR, networks, data communications, communication protocols, standards, public safety communications systems, GPS, instrumentation, and control systems.
Mr. McFarland understands variability is crucial to improving and controlling processes. He brings scholarship and practical experience in Statistics and Applied Research to help clients understand variability and improve outcomes.
Applied Research and Analytics Consulting Services:
E911-LBS Consulting is a premier provider of business, product, and technology strategy and implementation services for enterprises, start-ups, and public sector entities looking to capitalize on Location Information. With market leading expertise in all forms of indoor and outdoor location technologies including GPS, Beacons, RFID, RTLS/Wi-Fi, network-based methods, and various combinations and hybrids, E911 provides services to ensure fully functional and integrated indoor and outdoor applications to maximize ROI and customer success.
Mobile Location Strategy Development and Implementation Services
LBS Product Strategy Development
Indoor and Next Generation (NG) E911 Technical Strategy Development
Business Process and Business Case Development
Competitive Assessment and Analysis
Marketing Strategy Development
Operations Strategy Development
Market Launch Planning and Program Management
Connected Car Privacy and Security Design
Mobile Location Product Design and Implementation Services:
LBS and E911 Application Design and Development
Indoor and Outdoor Location Determination Technology Design, Evaluation and Selection
Mobile Application Requirements Definition
Mobile / Backoffice IT Integration Planning
Sales / Service Mobile Technology Optimization
Implementation Roadmap Development
Product Realization, Implementation Management
David H. Williams is an internationally-known expert in the Wireless / Mobile Location field and President and Founder of E911-LBS Consulting. With over 100 projects in mobile communications and information technology solutions design, selection, implementation and ongoing management, he has extensive experience in the activities and issues needed to get applications to market, including planning and design at the application, system, interface / integration, network, IT, operational and customer facing levels.
Mr. Williams is an expert in the full range of business and consumer location-based services (LBS) that utilize these technologies. His client list includes Apple, AT&T, General Electric, General Motors, Google, HERE, Kaspersky Internet Security, LOCAID, Lyft, Nextel, Qualcomm, Peschke, Samsung, Sprint, Toyota, and Verizon.
Mr. Williams has been published and quoted by leading magazines and newspapers about location-related services, including The New York Times, CBS News.com, The Boston Globe, Computerworld, Directions Magazine, Mission Critical Communications, Popular Mechanics, and RFID Journal. He has also published numerous research reports and dozens of location-related articles, and tracks and analyzes leading companies in the LBS industry, particularly with respect to their product and technology strategies, competitive capabilities, and implementation issues.
Mobius Consulting is a Mobile and Wireless Technology management consulting firm. The industry and academic professionals at Mobius offer diverse services leveraging their extensive experience and expertise in enterprise and vertical markets including telecom, healthcare, energy, transportation, government, supply chain and logistics.
Principal, Jacob Sharony, PhD, MBA, has over 25 years of experience in Mobile and Wireless Technologies. He is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University, teaching wireless technologies and applications. He also served as a faculty member of the electrical and computer engineering department and director of the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology at Stony Brook University. Dr. Sharony held engineering and management positions in diverse technology disciplines at Time Warner Cable, Motorola, BAE Systems, NEC Research Institute, and IBM Research. He has over 50 US patents (pending and issued) and has served on several government expert panels. Dr. Sharony has also published extensively in scientific journals and conferences.
J. Armand Musey, CFA, JD/MBA, founder and president of Summit Ridge Group, LLC, provides consulting services for the Satellite, Media and Telecommunications Industries including business appraisal, intangible asset valuation, strategic consulting, custom research.
Mr. Musey is a highly regarded financial analyst with expertise in Asset Valuation, Business Valuation, Financial Analysis of Economic Damages and Financial Scenario Analysis. He also has significant experience in corporate governance and investment research practices. Mr. Musey's clients include media and communications companies, institutional investors, law firms and other professional services providers.
Mr. Musey has a unique blend of 16 years of equity research (top-ranked sell-side analyst), investment banking and consulting experience. He has completed dozens of financial valuation, strategy analysis, business development and business plan creation assignments in the communications industry. He has experience in 18 financing and M&A transactions.
Tal Lavian, Ph.D., is a scientist, technologist, and lecturer at UC Berkeley Engineering with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Lavian specializes in Telecommunications, Network Communications, Mobile Wireless, and Internet Protocols, including mobile devices, smartphones, wireless LAN (WLAN), routing, LAN/WAN, Ethernet, TCP/IP, UDP, IP, VoIP, web, and streaming media.
Areas of Expertise
Communication Networks: Internet protocols; TCP/IP suite, TCP, UDP, IP, Ethernet, 802.3, network protocols, network software applications, data link, network, and transport layers (L2, L3, L4), packet switching, data center network architecture.
Mobile Wireless: Wi-Fi, 802.11, Bluetooth, MAC, PHY, Wireless LAN (WLAN). Cellular systems, SMS, instant messaging (chat), mobile devices, smartphones.
Internet/Cloud: Internet Technologies, Web applications, HTTP, e-mail, SMTP, POP, IMAP, Java, C/C++, file transfer FTP, client-server, cloud computing, distributed computing, Computer Networks
VoIP/Streaming Media: PSTN, circuit switching, IP telephony, VoIP, SIP, RTP, SS7, SONET, TDM, video/audio conferencing, streaming media, Voice and Data Communications
Past cases have involved leading companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, LinkedIn, Avaya, T-Mobile, AT&T, Ericsson, Sprint, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Polycom, Motorola, LG, WhatsApp, Instagram, Huawei, Facebook, and Apple.
As an expert witness, Dr. Lavian offers his opinion and litigation support services in patent-related cases, specifically in network communications, telecommunications, mobile wireless, and Internet software technologies. He has extensive experience rendering reports and testifying in Federal, IPR, and ITC cases. He has appeared before the USPTO PTAB IPR and ITC in over 140 patent-related cases. Dr. Lavian is skilled at helping the layperson understand complex and sophisticated technologies.
Dr. Lavian has served as an industry fellow and lecturer with U.C. Berkeley’s Industrial Engineering and Operation Research (IEOR) Department and with U.C. Berkeley Engineering’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET). He has also been a part of U.C. Berkeley’s start-up accelerator, SkyDeck for CRadar.ai, VisuMenu, and Aybell.
WiseHarbor is a global Wireless and Mobile Communications consulting firm serving companies, industry associations, and government clients. While WiseHabor’s focus is industry-specific, their scope of technologies, commercial offerings, and issues analyzed is broad and expanding in line with industry developments. Their knowledge encompasses towers, masts, and microsites, radio and core network equipment, devices, chips and software. The industry’s services and applications have diversified from voice and messaging to include rich multimedia with video, mobile commerce, automotive, and the internet of things (IoT). Their expertise has expanded accordingly and also includes analysis on innovation, competition, and technology licensing.
Areas of Expertise:
Business Modeling and Valuations
Regulation and Licensing
Intellectual Property Analysis
Principal, Keith Mallinson has more than 25 years of experience in the Telecommunications Industry: as a research analyst, consultant and testifying expert witness. Complementing his industry focus, he has a broad skill set including technologies, market analysis, regulation, economics, and finance.
Background Information - Prior to founding WiseHarbor in 2006, Mallinson led Yankee Group's global Wireless/Mobile research and consulting team as Executive Vice President, based in Boston, from 2000. Until then, he had overall responsibility for the firm's European division, as Managing Director from 1995. Prior to that, he was the European Research Director. Mr. Mallinson has published numerous articles and speaks publicly at major industry events on a wide variety of topics including next-generation mobile network technologies, broadband wireless, fixed-mobile convergence and substitution, handset semiconductor technologies, intellectual property patents and licensing, emerging markets in developing nations, mobile search, and advertising.
Aggregate royalty payments for licensing cellular technology standard-essential patents (SEPs) in smartphones have remained in modest single-digit percentages and have declined since 2013. This defies purported concerns that the stacking of patent royalties paid to multiple licensors have led to or would lead to unreasonably high aggregate rates on mobile devices
Technological improvements in cars over the decades have generally reduced costs or increased performance and safety. “Analog” technologies including collapsible steering columns, crumple zones and seatbelts have saved car occupants from death or serious injury. Many digital technologies have also improved our in-car experience with entertainment, mobile communications
Patent pooling is increasingly attractive for licensing cellular technologies with emerging IoT including 5G because it can provide greater transparency, predictability, and various efficiencies such as lower transaction costs at scale in standard-essential patent (SEP) licensing with multiple dimensions and complexities including
While litigation is bogging down the licensing of cellular standard essential patents (SEPs) in vehicles with disputes about where in the production supply chain licensing may or must occur, this is also delaying payment of Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) royalty charges in these cases and causing confusion about licensing value.
While there is much uncertainty about the outlook for standard-essential patent royalty rates in court determinations, there are plenty of solid benchmarks in well-established comparable licenses (“comps”). The former rates are thin on the ground and have been made up based on some dubious and fiercely...
A European Commission DG Growth initiative described in its Roadmap on Standard Essential Patents for a European digitalised economy aims to increase information on SEPs so implementers can get a better idea about which of these they might be infringing. Additional disclosures on how patent claims might read on the standards could be beneficial. Requirements should reflect the dynamics and uncertainties in standards development and patent prosecution and must not be onerous to patent owners. These are issues for standards development organisations to consider.
The notion of "peak smartphone" is widely discussed of late, including by the Economist. Revenues are flattening with longer replacement cycles, saturating markets, resistance to Apple's price increases, decreasing prices among Android's fiercely competitive OEMs and allegedly diminishing technical improvements in successive new device models. 5G holds massive growth potential, but much of that is in industrial and IoT markets that will take at least several years to establish themselves and grow to levels that will have substantial impact on overall device and service revenues.
US, China, Japan and Korea are seizing global leadership in 5G with support of coherent and helpful industrial policies in those nations across the entire mobile ecosystem including technology development, spectrum licensing, site acquisition and operator consolidation. All these nations will launch 3GPP standard-compliant 5G services in 1Q 2019, except for the US, that might start sooner, and Japan, where the first launches are expected before yearend 2019. The first 5G smartphones will probably be sold to consumers to be sold to consumers in 2Q 2019.
Recent new technology deployments with gigabit LTE at Telstra in Australia, Sprint in the U.S. and EE in the UK highlight how much mobile communications technologies have improved since the introduction of mobile data services with circuit-switched and then packet-switched offerings from around 20 years ago. Peak and average user speeds have increased by a factor of 10,000. By way of comparison, microprocessor performance doubling every couple of years, as predicted by Moore's Law, has increased it only one thousand-fold over that period. Cellular performance improvements are therefore quite spectacular given the vagaries of connecting through the ether up to hundreds of meters, as well as processing those signals in the confines of around one square centimeter of baseband processor silicon!
In March 2015, IEEE significantly amended its patent policy in what was couched as an "update" but that seeks to significantly revise commitments from parties holding patent claims essential to IEEE standards to license those rights on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms. Changes disallow patent holders from receiving any value attributable to the standards, require licensing at the smallest saleable patent practicing unit level, and deny these rights holders entitlement to seek an injunction against an unlicensed implementer until appellate review is exhausted. IEEE’s stated objective was to protect implementers from patent holdup, which was alleged without any substantiation. IEEE is promoting, by reducing technology licensing costs, the short-term interests of certain implementers while undermining standard-essential patent values and the ability of SEP owners to receive adequate compensation, they are entitled to, from licensing their SEPs.
At last, American authorities are also beginning to do the right thing for owners of standard-essential patents. Under the previous administration of President Barack Obama, America's agencies did the wrong thing by seriously undermining standard-essential patents in various ways. For example, this existentially threatened the independence of Qualcomm, which relies substantially on its patent-licensing business to fund long-term R&D including that in upcoming 5G mobile communications. Thankfully, President Donald Trump's administration has recognised the important need to support, not undermine, the nation's technology innovators, and uphold their patent rights, as enshrined in the US Constitution.
In a major ruling that underscores judicial independence, federal judge Richard J. Leon has just unconditionally approved the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, rebuffing the US government's effort to stop the $85.4 billion deal.
Major innovations in cellular technologies arise largely from the substantial Research and Development (R&D) investments and inventions of relatively few companies, followed by widespread collaborations including many more in the process of standard setting.
While Ericsson is a leading contributor to mobile communications standards, a US District Court in California has significantly undervalued Ericsson's standard-essential patents (SEPs) by relying heavily on flawed "top-down" valuation analysis that prorates royalties by company for 2G, 3G and 4G based on SEP counting. This analysis applies a series of inaccurate assumptions which whittle down royalty rates from an understated notional maximum in a succession of unreliable steps. The resulting rates derived are a lot lower than those found in a European court's FRAND determination for the same company in the same year (2017) and for the same 2G, 3G, and 4G patent portfolios. The differences between these US and European determinations are irreconcilable.
Radio spectrum is the lifeblood of wireless networks. Traditional methods of doling out spectrum have somewhat hindered rather than helped maximize the availability of affordable Internet access, even if this was not the case with voice and text. Instead of seeking to aggrandize auction proceeds by creating scarcity, more flexible allocations including shared as well as traditional licensed and unlicensed assignments are required.
I participated as a panelist in a session entitled, "Economists: Do They Have a Place?," at the Patents in Telecoms and the Internet of Things conference at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. on November 10, 2017. This article is substantially my remarks in that conference panel session. Before my remarks, Stephen Haber of Stanford University said that I had posed the defining question for the entire conference in an audience question-and-answer exchange the previous day. It had perturbed me to hear a panel speaker mischaracterize the communications standards as platforms of preexisting technologies upon which Internet of Things (IoT) innovation will occur. In response, I said that communications standards are rich in technology innovation and patented intellectual property.
As I explained in IP Finance last week, following President Trump's blocking of Broadcom's hostile bid to acquire Qualcomm, by remaining independent the cellular technology leader will be able to maintain its long-term commitment to high levels of R&D investment (at 23 percent of sales recently), most significantly including that in 5G communications standard-essential IP.
The broadband performance and economics of cellular with 4G and 5G is making it possible for many of us to do without any wired connection at all - already including those who, on average, stream up to an hour of video per day. Nevertheless, most homes will continue to need fixed connections; but 5G fixed-wireless access will serve many of these.
At a conference entitled Patents in Telecoms & the Internet of Things, at George Washington University in the District of Columbia last week, I was perturbed to hear a speaker mischaracterizing the communications standards as platforms of preexisting technologies upon which IoT innovation will occur. Major research and development investments are being made in communications technologies and standards to satisfy the anticipated demands of 5G and IoT. In fact, these investments, with significant innovations resulting already, are largely a leap of faith in advance of hoped-for IoT applications development and proof of demand for these.
Consumers are only beginning to use LTE in unlicensed spectrum. So far chatter has mostly been about operator trials, commercial chipsets and sales of devices to seed the market before anyone is to be able to use the new service feature. Nevertheless, the commercial impact will be quite dramatic within a few years.
The new US Department of Justice antitrust leader says antitrust enforcers are too accommodating to IP implementers when in dispute with standard-essential patent owners. Instead, patent owners should be allowed to decide how they want to exercise their property rights: "under the antitrust laws, a unilateral refusal to license a valid patent should be per se legal" – he also reminds us "the right to exclude is one of the most fundamental bargaining rights the patent owner possesses."
Technology innovation by chip, device and equipment vendors plus intense competition among national oligopolies of mobile network operators has improved cellular performance and reduced costs to the enormous benefit of consumers. Meanwhile, recent financial gains in the mobile ecosystem are largely accruing to Silicon Valley's tech titans including Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Netflix. The massive network investments required for 5G may not be forthcoming if this imbalance persists.