How to Manage And Set Up Patent Pools – Episode 12


April 12, 2022

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  • Paul Bawel, Access Advance LLC

Paul is Senior Vice President at Access Advance LLC where he is responsible for business development. He has been involved in multiple patent pools and licensing program during his 25+ years as an intellectual property attorney, including for MPEG 2, MPEG 4 Part 2, AVC, HDDVD, BluRay, HEAAC, HEVC and now VVC. Paul started his career to work for General Electric’s licensing department. He went on to work for General Instrument, first as the IP Portfolio Law Director, and then as the Broadband Sector IP Law Director (for Motorola after it purchased GI) managing the IP law department and IP related matters. After that Paul worked for Microsoft as a Business Division Patent Counsel to then work for Acacia Research Group identifying, valuing, and purchasing patent portfolios. Since 2015, Paul has worked for Access Advance, first as Senior VP of Licensing building their HEVC Advance licensing program, and now as Senior VP of Business Development developing, launching and now building their VVC Advance licensing program.

Paul believes that patent pools are important to facilitate standardized technologies such as HEVC or VVC. Patent pools reduce the transaction costs for all implementers. Havening more than just one patent pool (HEVC is subject to 3 patent licensing programs and VVC currently has 2 licensing programs set up), also will in his view not hamper standards adoption. Also, two or three patent pools still reduce the number of licensors. There has been criticism that HEVC was not as successful as AVC, where Paul argues that there is a lot of data tell a different story and that provides evidence of the success and wide adoption of HEVC. In his view the HEVC patent pool situation supported that success. Also, the recent litigation between Access Advance and Vestel was no setback for Access Advance, Paul argues. Here media did not tell the whole story. What is true due to a substantial number of overlapping patents in the HEVC Advance Patent Pool and MPEG LA’s HEVC patent pool to which Vestel was licensed to, the German court In Düsseldorf found the Access Advanced HEVC license not FRAND. Access Advanced in March 2022 therefore revised its policy responding to the Düsseldorf District Court’s December 21, 2021 ruling. Importantly, the court once again did not express concerns with any other facet of the HEVC Advance Patent Pool, including its royalty rates.

One reason why more than just one patent pool was formed for VVC is that not only the licensing rates and licensing models differ across the pool programs, but also the internal revenue sharing policies can be very different. At Access Advance Paul states that the pool considers the internal royalty sharing counting patents on a patent family basis so that there are no incentives for patent pool licensors to file e.g. multiple divisional patent applications that cover very minor inventions just to increase their share in the patent pool. The different rules and licensing rates therefore attract different SEP licensors to either join Access Advance or MPEG LA’s VVC patent pool.

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