Earlier this week, Qualcomm resolved an issue with the U.S. Justice Department concerning its acquisition of Flarion.
By Gurinder Dhillon, Airgo Networks
Flarion’s acquisition by Qualcomm shows Qualcomm’s desire to build its IP portfolio and position itself for the 4G technology.
Early on, Qualcomm tried to portray the superiority of CDMA technology for 2G and 3G networks over GSM. It succeeded in many areas except Europe. Using its patent position in CDMA, Qualcomm gained significant financial advantage.
More recently, the cellular industry has opposed Qualcomm’s IPR tactics Qualcomm has legal battles regarding its IPR policies (e.g. Nokia and others filed a complaint with European Union over excessive IP costs, Broadcom/Qualcomm suits and counter suits, etc.)
These developments show how aggressive Qualcomm is in extracting revenues from IPR and also protecting it.
Over last couple of years, Flarion's Flash OFDM technology, has demonstrated the promise of OFDM for next-gen 4G cellular networks. Qualcomm understands the growing popularity of OFDM as a technology for next-gen networks including standards like WiFi, .11n, WiMAX, 802.20, 3GPP LTE, etc.
Qualcomm will try to leverage the Flarion technology for the 802.20 standard and position it as a competitor to Intel supported WiMAX technology.
Also, Qualcomm did not have a strong patent position going into the 3GPP LTE standard that is expected to be based on OFDM.
Companies such as Nortel, Samsung, etc. have aggressively supported OFDM and have patents in this area. Flarion patents help Qualcomm in increasing its patent portfolio in OFDM area that would not even come close to what they have in CDMA.
More information on OFDM versus CDMA is available at Why MIMO makes sense for next-generation cellular.