BusinessA Chat With Qualcomm’s Licensing Enterprise Chief, John Han

A Chat With Qualcomm’s Licensing Enterprise Chief, John Han


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Qualcomm Expertise Licensing (QTL) is the lesser-known facet of what Qualcomm does as a enterprise. Most who know Qualcomm comprehend it for its bodily chips and 5G modems for smartphones beneath Qualcomm CDMA Applied sciences (QCT). QCT additionally creates chips for automotive and IoT markets. Whereas QCT is Qualcomm’s semiconductor enterprise, QTL is its phase for licensing their patented breakthrough applied sciences to different corporations. It’s spectacular how the corporate has been in a position to function each of those enterprise segments efficiently to drive the adoption of 5G into the palms of customers one 12 months forward of schedule.

John Han is the SVP and GM of Qualcomm’s QTL division and, as I’ve lined QTL’s President Alex Rogers and Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon, I wish to share a few of my conversations with John Han on QTL and the way it’s serving to the promulgation of 5G know-how. You possibly can watch the dialog in our particular Six 5 INSIDER right here. And most not too long ago, John Han and David Kappos – the previous director of the USPTO – carried out a fireplace chat on the Licensing Executives Society annual convention about comparable matters. You possibly can watch the highlights of that dialog right here. It’s at all times fascinating to hearken to John breakdown the seemingly advanced authorized jargons into easy phrases and assist us perceive the information about know-how licensing.

QTL’s contribution to the wi-fi ecosystem

Qualcomm Expertise Licensing has generally been considered as controversial over time and even accused by a few of monopolistic practices; nonetheless, after the completion of a number of authorized circumstances, this was confirmed to be unfaithful.

John Han does a fantastic job of unpacking QTL’s buyer base and the way QTL is enabling the ecosystem. Qualcomm is made up of engineers and inventors that work on early R&D for basic applied sciences. Fairly than holding these developed applied sciences for themselves, QTL grants licenses to different corporations and permits them to make use of Qualcomm’s IP. Certain, there are rewards for licensing patented know-how, nevertheless it’s additionally a giant threat with important R&D investments years forward of the sport, typically with some that don’t pan out, moreover – their opponents get an in depth, first-hand have a look at precisely how Qualcomm created their innovations.

QTL’s licensees embrace all the main smartphone OEMs, together with Xiaomi, VIVO, Samsung, and Apple. John Han mentions that, no matter whether or not smartphone OEMs use Qualcomm’s chipset merchandise or not, Qualcomm’s know-how licensing enterprise mannequin is open and inclusive to those that wish to use its applied sciences. It permits for the sharing of a broad vary of IP with its licensees whereas serving to them to compete, innovate, and develop globally. I imagine that is the alternative of the perceived NPE-like monopoly that’s generally portrayed. It’s the sharing of IP for honest compensation, market competitiveness, and know-how requirements. John Han described fantastically what number of entities acknowledge QTL’s position on a macro degree because the R&D heart for the ecosystem. They (Companions and OEMs) acknowledge that what Qualcomm does is pure and early analysis, particularly for mobile and radio spectrum applied sciences. Understanding Qualcomm because the R&D heart of the ecosystem places super worth and assist into its prospects. As QTL is rewarded for its R&D threat, Qualcomm can proceed R&D for future know-how generations.

QTL’s IP portfolio

Qualcomm’s patent portfolio globally is a whopping 140,000+ patents and patent purposes. It won’t be the biggest patent portfolio by variety of patents, it by far has probably the most helpful patents. On prime of 5G applied sciences, Qualcomm’s patent portfolio covers a wide selection of know-how areas, together with multi-media, RF, compute, graphics, place location, and Wi-Fi. John Han makes a fantastic level when he says that not all patents are created equal. Extra doesn’t at all times imply higher and, within the case of patent portfolios, high quality far exceeds amount. Han offers a greater indicator of the worth of a portfolio is the variety of licensing agreements as a result of agreements are negotiated by skilled IP consultants and mirror the true worth of patents within the market. As of right this moment, Qualcomm has a formidable licensing buyer base that boasts 150+ 5G licensing agreements, together with all key handset OEMs globally.

FRAND, maintain up and maintain out

In the event you haven’t caught on but, Qualcomm’s licensing enterprise mannequin is a key driver of the way in which the wi-fi ecosystem efficiently innovates and competes. FRAND (Truthful, Cheap, and Non-Discriminatory) commitments play an enormous position in QTL’s mannequin as properly. Han factors out that the intent of FRAND is to assist the thriving IP ecosystem that may proceed to incentivize foundational innovations. A patent holder makes a FRAND dedication once they share or contribute their know-how to the usual as customary important patents (SEP).

It retains patent holders and implementors from profiting from a typical by exerting unreasonable calls for. With out FRAND commitments, unreasonable phrases may preserve the business from shifting ahead and innovating. However FRAND brings honest, affordable, and non-discriminatory readability to business negotiations and, within the course of, encourages either side to proceed innovating.

Firms are required to commit their customary important patents to FRAND phrases, and these phrases are a two-way avenue. Implementers have a FRAND obligation simply as patent holders have a FRAND obligation.

Han explains how these implementors and patent holders, licensees and licensors, relationships could be hindered by misbehaving and never holding to the FRAND dedication.  The business calls this “holding up and holding out”. Holding up is when a patent holder misbehaves, and holding out is when the implementor is misbehaving. Maintain out is also referred to as patent infringement and occurs when an implementor doesn’t wish to negotiate in good religion or beneath FRAND phrases and infringes on patented applied sciences. The result’s that it forces the innovator to undertake litigation prices and time delays. Holding up is the alternative the place SEP (Normal Important Patents) holders refuse to barter in good religion, like asking greater than what is affordable, making it tough for the implementors to construct a worthwhile enterprise.

What is typically argued is that FRAND phrases don’t work, and that there’s a downside with licensing know-how. Han highlights that “what has been abundantly clear after years of heated debate with the economists, the IP consultants, and business pundits—there is no such thing as a proof exhibiting that maintain up really even exists, as a result of the colourful cellular ecosystem proves opposite.” Court docket rulings are even optimistic for SEP holders and additional validate its longstanding licensing program. Taking a look at what Qualcomm is pushing for with QTL, it’s abundantly clear that it’s to push innovation, competitors, and collaboration towards technological development.

Closing ideas

I don’t suppose QTL will get sufficient credit score. It’s undoubtedly probably the most profitable know-how licensing enterprise with probably the most 5G licensing agreements globally within the business. It performed a big position within the rollout of 5G and, as we all know, is increasing into numerous industries.

QTL could be a robust space to clarify and is typically  criticized when not totally understood. QTL, merely put, licenses out applied sciences that Qualcomm has been researching and creating for the previous ten years or longer, to OEMs who can implement that know-how by means of merchandise for the market place. Qualcomm is extra occasions than not on prime with regards to the licensing enterprise, and it doesn’t maintain this title by having probably the most patents. Fairly, it holds it by means of the standard of patents which is the reflection of its R&D success.

Notice: Moor Insights & Technique co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this text.

Moor Insights & Technique, like all analysis and tech business analyst corporations, supplies or has supplied paid providers to know-how corporations. These providers embrace analysis, evaluation, advising, consulting, benchmarking, acquisition matchmaking, or talking sponsorships. The corporate has had or at the moment has paid enterprise relationships with 8×8, A10 Networks, Superior Micro Units, Amazon, Ambient Scientific, Anuta Networks, Utilized Micro, Apstra, Arm, Aruba Networks (now HPE), AT&T, AWS, A-10 Methods, Bitfusion, Blaize, Field, Broadcom, Calix, Cisco Techniques, Clear Software program, Cloudera, Clumio, Cognitive Techniques, CompuCom, CyberArk, Dell, Dell EMC, Dell Applied sciences, Diablo Applied sciences, Dialogue Group, Digital Optics, Dreamium Labs, Echelon, Ericsson, Excessive Networks, Flex, Foxconn, Body (now VMware), Fujitsu, Gen Z Consortium, Glue Networks, GlobalFoundries, Revolve (now Google), Google Cloud, Graphcore, Groq, Hiregenics, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Honeywell, Huawei Applied sciences, IBM, IonVR, Inseego, Infosys, Infiot, Intel, Interdigital, Jabil Circuit, Konica Minolta, Lattice Semiconductor, Lenovo, Linux Basis, Luminar, MapBox, Marvell Expertise, Mavenir, Marseille Inc, Mayfair Fairness, Meraki (Cisco), Mesophere, Microsoft, Mojo Networks, Nationwide Devices, NetApp, Nightwatch, NOKIA (Alcatel-Lucent), Nortek, Novumind, NVIDIA, Nutanix, Nuvia (now Qualcomm), ON Semiconductor, ONUG, OpenStack Basis, Oracle, Panasas, Peraso, Pexip, Pixelworks, Plume Design, Poly (previously Plantronics), Portworx, Pure Storage, Qualcomm, Rackspace, Rambus, Rayvolt E-Bikes, Purple Hat, Residio, Samsung Electronics, SAP, SAS, Scale Computing, Schneider Electrical, Silver Peak (now Aruba-HPE), SONY Optical Storage, Springpath (now Cisco), Spirent, Splunk, Dash (now T-Cell), Stratus Applied sciences, Symantec, Synaptics, Syniverse, Synopsys, Tanium, TE Connectivity, TensTorrent, Tobii Expertise, T-Cell, Twitter, Unity Applied sciences, UiPath, Verizon Communications, Vidyo, VMware, Wave Computing, Wellsmith, Xilinx, Zayo, Zebra, Zededa, Zoho, and Zscaler. Moor Insights & Technique founder, CEO, and Chief Analyst Patrick Moorhead is a private investor in know-how corporations dMY Expertise Group Inc. VI and Dreamium Labs.

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