Licensing

Overview

More than 285 companies have licensed technologies in WiLAN’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio. The success of our licensing program is driven by the quality of our patents, our negotiation-based methodology and the experience and expertise of our team.

Putting our licensing methodology into action requires a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, technology researchers, patent agents, legal professionals and market researchers with unparalleled knowledge, skills and experience.

Review the range of technologies in our portfolio.

Top IP licensing myths

Q&A with WiLAN’s Andrew Parolin

Andrew Parolin has negotiated intellectual property (IP) licensing agreements with some of the world’s biggest technology companies. As Senior Vice President of Licensing at WiLAN, Andrew is responsible for the licensing of WiLAN’s portfolio of wireless, wireline, V-chip and other technologies. His team has negotiated IP licensing agreements with over 125 companies, including Broadcom, Intel, LG, Motorola, RIM and Sharp.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about IP licensing?

“That licensing companies hamper innovation. Most valuable intellectual property is created as a result of the research and development efforts of small companies without the financing or ability to seek fair compensation for their patented inventions. We can reward small companies for this research and development since we can either purchase the intellectual property outright or help these small companies run licensing programs. This reward for the small company fosters further research and development. Looking at it from the perspective of a large company, the evidence seems to be that the cost of patent licenses to small entities is typically a minimal percentage of overall research and development budgets, usually less than one percent, so that would hardly seem to be enough to materially affect, much less hamper, research and development or innovation.”

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Q: How do you determine appropriate licensing fees?

"License fees are determined by many factors so there is rarely a “one-size-fits-all” rate or fee. One of the factors that applies in virtually every situation is that we want a royalty that compensates fairly for the essential IP but is not so unduly onerous that it would jeopardize a licensee’s business."

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Q: Does early resolution lead to a better licensing deal?

“Generally our policy is to offer a discount and better terms to licensees that work with us cooperatively and take licenses in a reasonable time without litigation.”

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Q: Is licensing cheaper than litigation?

“Yes. When parties can reach a license agreement without the need for litigation, then significant costs can be saved by both sides. WiLAN thoroughly researches its patents and their application to products, so when we accuse a product of infringement we are thoroughly convinced that it infringes our patents. If it becomes necessary we are prepared to litigate. Litigation is a costly, time-consuming process that can distract a company from its core business. Since companies that choose litigation rather than working towards a quick settlement are not eligible for a discount, and moreover must fund the costs of litigation, it usually ends up being more expensive for them.”

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Q: Why should IP holders work with WiLAN’s subsidiary Gladios, rather than hiring a law firm?

“Gladios offers a total turnkey solution for maximizing revenue generation, while most law firms are only good at one aspect of licensing: litigation. Litigation is only one part of the overall IP licensing picture and it is not always necessary. You need expertise in running a licensing program that addresses the total potential market, technical expertise in the products, expertise in managing litigation, and the business perspective gained from many years in this industry. Of course there are often significant expenses with litigation that Gladios covers. It is important to understand that Gladios has access to all of WiLAN’s financial and human resources so it has a deep reservoir to draw upon.”

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Q: How do you react when big companies cast your work in a negative light?

"Frankly, it’s a little self-serving and usually stems from a desire to avoid paying fairly for the IP they use. Most large technology companies have their own IP operations, and are involved in their own patent assertion and licensing activities. They know IP licensing is a legitimate activity. In fact, it is common practice for major technology companies to retain firms like ours to arrange licensing programs on their behalf.”

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Q: How do you see the IP licensing arena evolving?

“I expect there will continue to be more stratification. The smaller players will either disappear or consolidate, and an established leadership group will emerge. As more large companies realize the importance of creating value from their IP portfolios, I expect more to retain the services of companies like WiLAN and Gladios to help monetize their patents.”

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Q: How do you react when people say supporting IP rights stifles innovation?

“I really don’t see it that way. A patent is the reward for innovation. For smaller companies and inventors, IP rights are incredibly important. In some cases, upholding these rights can mean the difference between staying in business and continuing to innovate or having to close up shop. And, IP rights actually promote knowledge sharing because patent holders must disclose important aspects of their inventions. Often if a small company goes out of business the only thing of value that remains is the IP rights. If IP rights had no value it would be even harder to get financing for innovative small companies and start-ups.”

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