Some NPE’s are unjustly maligned

Lost amid the sea of electronic gadgets unveiled at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show was an announcement made by Sisvel International. Sisvel, which manages IP issues and maximizes patent rights, announced that it had acquired 47 patent families comprised of more than 450 patents and applications originally filed by Nokia. Why is this important, you ask?

For starters, there’s been considerable hand wringing about Sisvel as some onlines and news outlets have called them patent trolls. That’s nothing more than a simplistic explanation. Not all non-practicing entities – NPEs in innovation parlance – are evil. Sisvel is one such example. As Giustino de Sanctis, CEO of Sisvel International, said in a company press release recently, “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.”

Well said, Mr. de Sanctis. Sisvel does, without a doubt, perform a valuable service in the ecosystem. And its delivery of FRAND licenses for a new standard makes them an important organization.

And before we start pointing fingers at every NPE, let’s not forget that the Open Invention Network is, indeed, an NPE. But there’s no question that OIN  provides stability and protection for Linux-based open source.

As more technology matures into standards it is appropriate and desirable to form a FRAND pool. Business and governments should applaud these efforts.

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