Oded Gottesman, PhD, CTO of Compandent Inc., technology IP expert witness in such areas as telecommunications, cellular phone, and signal processing, provides technology expert witness services, prior art search, and consulting for Technology Patent Infringement, Patent Invalidity, Trade Secret Disputes, source code review, hardware analysis, and related matters. Dr. Gottesman has more than 17 years of experience as an expert witness, deposed 14 times, testified 6 times in Jury trial and 2 times in ITC trial, worked on IPR and Ex Parte Reexamination petitions, and wrote numerous reports. Among his areas of expertise are:
DSP Digital Signal Processing
Cellular Networks (4G LTE, 3GPP, GSM)
Streaming audio, streaming video
Cellular Timing and Synchronization
Location and Position Systems (UTDOA, GPS, etc.)
Error Control Coding
Speech Coding, voice compression, vocoder, Audio Compression, and Video Compression, codec (MPEG, AAC, AMR)
Signal Compression and Signal Enhancement
Computer Software, and Algorithms
Smartphones, Portable Devices
Litigation Support - Dr. Gottesman has more than 20 years of experience as an expert witness, deposed 16 times, testified 6 times in Jury trial and 2 times in ITC trial, worked on IPR and Ex Parte Reexamination petitions, and wrote numerous reports.
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.
Licensed Electrical Engineer Expert Witness Mark McFarland
Mark McFarland, PE, DFE, is the founder and CEO of Discovery Engineering. Mark provides expert consulting services on civil and criminal cases nationwide.
Mark's practice covers a wide range of cases, typically involving electrical, electronic, or telecommunications phenomena. He has worked with lawyers in several fields including: personal injury, liability, auto accidents, medical malpractice, class action, insurance claims, contract disputes, securities fraud, homicide, sex trafficking, and more.
Contact Mark at Discovery Engineering when you have litigation involving electrical, electronic, cellular, or GPS evidence. Licensed & Board Certified. 720-593-1640
David H. Williams is an internationally-known expert in the Wireless / Mobile Location field and President and Founder of E911-LBS Consulting.
Litigation Support - Mr. Williams provides the highest quality and most impactful expert witness services related to wireless location, across the full range of IP / Patent, criminal, and civil case dimensions from the most technical to those regarding business methods. His services include forensic analysis, reports, and testimony on the validity and accuracy of various types of cell phone/sensor location surveillance devices and associated tracking using GPS, Call Detail Records(CDRs), Cellebrite data extraction, and other location data sources. He is an expert in determining how social media and other mobile application usage can play a key part in various cases.
Mr. Williams has successfully provided expert witness services in over 150 patent, civil, criminal, anti-trust, and ITC cases, including several successful Inter Parte Reexaminations (IPRs), and over 40 civil, criminal, and law enforcement administrative proceedings. His credentials in wireless location prior art go as far back as the early 1980s. He has been deposed 24 times and testified 8 times, including winning in the International Trade Commission (ITC) Court as well as in the Eastern District of Texas, winning both IPR and infringement cases. His work with both prosecution and defendants have resulted in numerous key wins/favorable outcomes, with over a dozen wins (against only a few losses) as well advantageous settlements/pleadings. His experience is differentiated based not only the amount of experience but its type, having worked "on-the-inside" of various carriers, infrastructure providers, and location-service application developers. This enables knowing the right questions to ask of such providers, and to "break through the wall" that such providers often put up in litigation.
The basis of Mr. Williams' expertise is his 35+ years in mobile/wireless communications and information technology solutions design, implementation and ongoing management, Mr. Williams has extensive experience in the activities and issues needed to get mobile location applications to market, including design at the application, system, interface / integration, network, IT, operational and customer facing levels. Mr. Williams has extensive expertise in all aspects of LBS delivery across the mobile location ecosystem including enabling network communications, location technologies / sensors, map data, geospatial platform / GIS, GPS and other location chipsets, location data management, and device, infrastructure, and integration providers. David Williams has developed and implemented industry-leading product and technology strategies and solutions for numerous LBS applications and markets and provides consulting and research services to some of the leading carriers and enterprises in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. His client list includes Apple, AT&T, FedEx, GE, GM, GMG, Google, The Houston Police Department, The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, Lyft, Overhead Door, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint, Toyota, Verizon Wireless, Zillow, and numerous medium, small, and startup companies, plus numerous law firms of all sizes. He also provides support to various State Public Defenders Offices on a partial pro-bono basis.
Areas of Expertise:
Mobile Location-Based Services
Wireless 911 (E911); NG911
GPS Systems; Network-Based Location Determination Systems
Indoor Location Systems, incl. Real Time Location Systems (RTLS); RFID and other RF-based Location systems; WiFi-enabled positioning systems (WPS); Beacon-based systems; Hybrids/Combinations
Wireless Network Location, Internet of Things (IoT) Design
Location Data Privacy Protection and Data Security Design
Ian Cullimore, PhD, has over 30 years of hands-on Software and Hardware Development experience. He specializes in handheld devices, palmtops, PDAs, low power embedded systems, and Internet server technologies.
Background - Dr. Cullimore has held many employment and consulting posts as a software/hardware developer and inventor. He invented the world's first pocket PC which he licensed to Atari as the 'Portfolio'. He is also the co-inventor of the 'Poqet PC', acquired by Fujitsu. Dr. Cullimore is an experienced hi-tech CEO/CTO, yet still very hands-on with respect to architecture and coding. He has many years of experience both in the UK and California (Silicon Valley and LA) in companies ranging from small startups to large corporations, and in building and managing software and hardware teams.
An entrepreneur and start-up and young company specialist, Dr. Cullimore has helped to raise Angel and VC rounds, and has taken startups to exit. He has much experience interfacing with Boards, Investors, and sales/marketing/bizdev groups.
Litigation Support - Dr. Cullimore has a long track record as a Patent and Software / Hardware Expert Witness. His experience includes 30 cases, 19 written Expert Reports, 10 Depositions, and 3 at trial. His services are available to attorneys for both plaintiff and defendant.
David Shaw is an Expert with North America, Europe, and Far East expertise as an independent and impartial Technical and ICT Expert and Consultant involved in a wide range of high profile System, Integrations, remedial work on Failed Systems and Programs, Litigation, Expert Witness, Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial and Ultra-High Speed Trading Systems, Cyberwarfare and Defence work.
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.
Litigation Support - Dr. Sharony provides Patent and Class Action litigation support and expert consulting in mobile and wireless technologies. This includes patent infringement and invalidity analysis, FRAND analysis, writing expert reports, and deposition, and testimony in court. His deep knowledge of target markets, including telecom, healthcare, logistics, transportation, government, hospitality, mobile commerce and supply chain management, combined with extensive expertise in wireless and mobile technologies ensure innovative and successful solutions.
Ph.D. in machine learning/AI, MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. Head of partnerships at Google TV (a smart TV platform), software developer at Nortel Networks for 3G infrastructure and media streaming.
Primary areas of expertise:
- Machine Learning and AI
- Smart TV, smartphone
- Networking and telecommunications
Providing expert testimony in the areas of
- Patent infringement, ITC, IPR
- Trade secret misappropriation
- Breach of contract
- Technical due diligence
- Pre-litigation discovery
- Technology strategy
Retained on cases involving major technology companies, including:
J. Armand Musey, CFA, JD/MBA, founder and president of Summit Ridge Group, LLC, provides expert witness testimony for the Telecom, Media, and Satellite Industries. Mr. Musey is a highly regarded financial analyst with expertise in Asset Valuation, Business Valuation, Financial Analysis of Economic Damages, and Financial Scenario Analysis.
Mr. Musey also has significant experience in corporate governance and investment research practices. He offers litigation support for clients with complex financial analysis or valuation projects. His background also includes Wall Street research methods and practices on behalf of defendants in insider trading cases.
Mr. Musey's industry knowledge, financial expertise, and extensive writing experience allow him to expediently craft well-argued independent written direct testimony documents that withstand scrutiny in depositions and during courtroom cross-examination. Prior expert witness experience and years of communicating with investors of all types have honed his skills at orally communicating his industry knowledge and financial expertise. Moreover, Mr. Musey's legal background facilitates his ability to communicate with legal professionals, understand the legal relevance of case facts, and efficiently read legal documents.
Areas of Expertise Include:
Industry and Business
FCC Spectrum Licenses (including orbital slot valuation and wireless spectrum valuation)
Satellite Communications Industry and Related Media and Telecommunications Topics
Financial and Economic
Financial Analysis of Economic Damages
Financial Scenario Analysis
Investment Research Practices - including accepted used of information sources and relationships with company management
William "Bill" Redpath, ASA, CFA, CPA, ABV, CIPM, Managing Director at Summit Ridge Group, is a Business Appraiser with 36 years experience valuing companies and assets in the Broadcast, Media, and Telecommunication Industries.
Mr. Redpath currently heads the Chicago office of Summit Ridge Group. Before joining Summit Ridge Group, he worked for nearly 35 years at BIA Advisory Services, LLC, where he completed hundreds of fair market valuations and purchase price allocations for financial reporting and tax reporting purposes.
Previously, Mr. Redpath was a Senior Financial Analyst at NBC and an Internal Auditor at ABC (both in New York), Assistant Financial Manager at WISH-TV, Indianapolis, and a Staff Auditor at Arthur Andersen & Co. in Cincinnati.
Litigation Support - Mr. Redpath has participated in nearly 100 litigation support projects, including 36 depositions, and has testified in court or at arbitration hearings 24 times.
Areas of Expertise
Litigation Support Business Valuation
Valuation Theory / Methodology
Media and Entertainment
Cable & Satellite
Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), Business Valuation
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Virginia
Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV)
M.B.A., University of Chicago (Booth)
B.A., Economics & Political Science, Indiana University
Dr. Lavian holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in computer science, specializing in networking and communications. He is a consummate expert in network communications, telecommunications, Internet Protocols (TCP/IP), LAN/WAN, Streaming media, VoIP, mobile wireless, and Internet/Web technologies. He has over 30 years of experience, has invented over 120 patents, and has co-authored over 25 scientific publications. For 20 years, Dr. Lavian has researched, studied, and lectured at UC Berkeley Engineering. He has served as an industry fellow and lecturer with UC Berkeley’s Industrial Engineering IEOR, Berkeley Engineering’s SCET, UC Berkeley’s start-up accelerator, SkyDeck, as principal investigator for CRadar.Ai and CTO for Aybell.
Areas of Expertise:
Network communications, telecommunications, Internet protocols (TCP/IP), VoIP, Streaming Media, and mobile wireless:
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.
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. Keith Mallinson started his career in military communications design, project management and commercial systems engineering at the UK Ministry of Defence. He also worked as an engineer at an electronic security systems company. For several years he was a director at a seed capital investment firm specializing in ICT and biotechnology. He has an undergraduate electronic engineering degree from London University's Imperial College and an MBA from the London Business School, including an academic exchange with Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Illinois. 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.
Litigation Support - Having published research on a wide variety of commercial, technical, and regulatory matters, Keith Mallinson applies his skills in market and competitive analysis, advocacy, and expert testimony. He couples sector knowledge with financial and economic analysis to derive valuations or estimate litigation damages. His skills span Telecommunication Industry Analysis and Patent Licensing. Mr. Mallinson's services are available to attorneys representing both plaintiff and defendant.
It took the industry 30 years to consolidate mobile communications developments into a single 4G standard with the introduction of LTE and the demise of WiMAX. That attainment—also in 5G—should be cherished; but it is imperiled by geopolitical developments.
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.