SAN JOSE, Calif. The IEEE is ready to jump into the patent pool game, and it is starting with a call for patents on power over Ethernet.
Via Licensing Corp. will act as administer of the pool. Via announced Monday it will work with the Open Patent Alliance to set up a separate patent pool for WiMax.
Patent pools have established in technologies such as MPEG a track record of success. The IEEE announced late last year it was exploring with Via the possibility of building pools around its communications standards as a way to ease licensing issues.
The IEEE has identified a handful of its technologies that may be suitable for patent pools. "There are a couple of newer IEEE standards that aren't published yet that we believe will be in need of a pool, and we hope to have another call out for one of them before the end of the year," said Jason Johnson, vice president of marketing and business development at Via, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dolby Labs.
The IEEE selected power over Ethernet (PoE) as the subject for its first pool after reviewing patent declarations around its related standards and talking with PoE product makers involved in litigation.
The existing IEEE 802.3af specification defines PoE. A draft standard, P802.3at also known as PoE Plus, extends the original spec by increasing the number and range of receivers and boosting available power up to 25.5 watts while maintaining compatibility.
Patents related to either standard can be submitted immediately by emailing Via for the proper forms. Patents for the draft .3at standard will only be confirmed after the spec is ratified.
To be accepted, a patent must contain at least one independent claim that is necessarily infringed by the implementation or use of the specification. Organizers expect it will take at least nine months to organize the pool and define licensing terms.