Sisvel acquires over 450 Nokia patents

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Sisvel International, a specialist company in managing intellectual property and maximizing the value of patent rights, has bought more than 450 patents originally filed by Nokia. 350 of these cover essential parts of the 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS/WCDMA) and 4G (LTE) technologies. The other 100 or so cover video encoding optimization technologies. The acquired patents remain subject to certain prior agreements and Nokia is pre-licensed for all the patents as part of the acquisition.

SisvelFrom the press release:

“Sisvel has been extremely active in recent years working with the wireless industry to provide simplified access to essential wireless patents on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, or 'FRAND', conditions,” said Giustino de Sanctis, CEO of Sisvel International. Mr. de Sanctis also explained that “Acquiring the many essential patents in this key portfolio is a very significant step for Sisvel and a testament to Sisvel’s commitment and determination to succeed in this space. We look forward to offering these essential patents on FRAND terms and to continuing our work within the wireless industry.”

Most people won't have heard of Sisvel, but it has a long history of managing successful patent portfolios, including those related to the audio compression standards known as MP3 and MPEG Audio and widespread technologies such as OSD (On Screen Display), ATSS (Automatic Tuning & Sorting System), and WSS (Wide Screen Signaling - for automatic switching of television image formats). 

Sisvel's founder, Roberto Dini, says of the company's mission:

We live in extraordinary times. New technology is transforming all aspects of our society and improving our lives on a daily basis. The driving force behind this progress is creativity and innovation... Sisvel's expertise in developing and managing licensing programs allows its partners to focus their efforts on researching and promoting the next generation of technologies. The skills we have developed in our licensing programs also enhances Sisvel's own in-house research and development capacity.  Through our professionalism and commitment to the protection of intellectual property, we help make innovation available to as many people around the world as possible.

Provided FRAND is adhered to, having a third party administer all these patents can be seen as a good idea for the industry, helping prevent continual, time-consuming and expensive patent suits (that we've all seen far too many of in 2011).

In theory, selling these 'essential' patents to Sisvel will both gain Nokia money in the short term and save everyone money in the long run. A win-win situation? Unless you're a patent lawyer, in which case the work pool just got smaller...