Wi-Fi 6 pool’s progress update
Sisvel launched the Wi-Fi 6 pool in July 2022 with great fanfare, also because of an innovative new payment scheme called LIFT. Now just over five months in, we caught up with pool manager Andrea Rombolá and asked about progress to date.
We're 5 months out now - what's been the response to the pool?
The reaction to the pool’s launch has been enthusiastic. After the first phase, when public announcements were made to present the pool itself and LIFT, we contacted dozens of Wi-Fi 6 implementers (more than 200 as of today, but many more are to come as the technology gets increasingly adopted), offering a license.
An astonishingly high percentage of them engaged with us, welcoming the valid alternative this pool was offering. It may seem too optimistic, but facts confirm our perception: the pool can already count several licensees, including the founding members, that decided to adopt LIFT in their license agreement. They clearly wanted to be the first!
Why do you think the response has been so positive?
First of all, the reputation of the patent owners and their contribution to the development of the technology is a tremendous asset. Other factors are the quality of the pool’s patents – which the ongoing technical discussions are unveiling as we proceed with them – the competitiveness of the license offer, the LIFT payment scheme, and the potential to resolve the patent owners’ ongoing litigations through a pool license. All of this makes this pool very attractive to both patent owners and implementers: an effect that we perceive daily in our licensing discussions.
What is LIFT again?
A lot has been written about it: in short, it is a new royalty payment scheme, where payments are made according to the license penetration. It eliminates the competitive disadvantage that might be caused by being one of the first companies to license a new technology, incentivising early adoption.
Under LIFT, royalty payments are adjusted based on the percentage of the market that is licensed. LIFT is not a discount scheme though: if only a small portion of the market is licensed, most of the liability is deferred (not waived) until competitors actually pay. What isn’t paid immediately is added to a basket of unpaid liability which is also paid in accordance with the market penetration and is discounted and depreciated over time.
What have you heard from licensees about LIFT?
We explain LIFT several times a week; people want to know how it works and the concrete benefits it delivers. It would be a lie to say that explaining LIFT is effortless: to provide a balance between the needs of implementers and innovators, the mechanisms of LIFT needs many elements that drive some complexity, but its benefits are real, and the perception of tangible advantages by implementers is helping us overcome the challenges.
We continuously provide explanations, some of them high-level and some more detailed, Excel models, flow charts, …. We are doing everything we can to help people understand it and interiorize it. And, little by little, we are winning potential licensees over!
Are you hearing from new patent owners to join the pool?
We are, yes. Several patent owners contacted us starting from the day after the launch. There are few leads that we are confident we will be able to conclude in the next few months, which is great. More patent owners increase the reputation of the pool, and benefit all technology implementers: taking this pool license means getting a set of rights which is ever expanding, and those who already signed up for this license are enjoying this benefit.
The latest big step has been the publication of the first version of the patent list
on our website, which just happened. As we explained at the launch, it took time for the evaluation process to achieve an acceptable level of completion. The list now includes over 200 patent families and 1400 patents.
Naturally, this list will keep increasing due to new evaluations identifying new list members, and we will periodically update it to reflect this. The publication of the patent list was the last missing brick to make this pool’s license offer truly and fully transparent: our licensing operations can now continue moving additional steps forward. We expect to see many licensing deals concluded in the coming months.