Recently when I searched for some patent pools I had no idea how many companies actually work and offer their technologies together.
Patent pool is a group or consortium of patent holders who share their intellectual property through licensing.
Here is a short summary of available patent pools and technologies.
The Medicines Patent Pool was created to improve the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries. Their goal is to increase access to quality, safe, efficacious, more appropriate and affordable medicines, focussing on HIV/AIDS.
SISVEL is a specialized provider of licensing services. In their portfolio there are Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial, Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial2, Automatic Tuning and Sorting System, Widescreen Signaling, teletext, UHF RFID, Code Division Multiple Access 2000, Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications licensing programs. They have also several programs under development: Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld, LTE, DVB-C2 and IEEE 802.11 standards.
The DVD6C Patent Licensing Group. Leading developers (HITACHI, JVC, MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp, TIME WARNER, TOSHIBA) of DVD technology and formats have formed DVD 6C Patent Pool offering one-stop shopping benefit for all potential licensees.
4G Open Patent Alliance. Members of the WiMAX ecosystem formed the Open Patent Alliance (OPA) in June 2008. The OPA’s primary goal is to foster a global ecosystem that will help ensure the successful and broad adoption of 4G wireless. OPA members include Acer, Alvarion, Cisco, Clearwire, Huawei Technologies, Intel Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Beceem, GCT Semiconductor, Sequans, and UQ Communications.
MPEG LA is a packager of patent pools for standards and other technology platforms used in consumer electronics, as well as chemical, eCommerce, education, energy, environment, healthcare and biotechnology, manufacturing and materials, transportation and wireless technology. Current Patent Pools: MPEG-2, ATSC, AVC/H.264, VC-1, MPEG-4 Visual, MPEG-2 Systems, 1394, MPEG-4 Systems. Patent pools in formation:Molecular Diagnostics Supermarket, Chemical, Consumer Electronics, eCommerce, Education, Energy, Environment, Healthcare and Biotechnology, Manufacturing and Materials, Transportation, Wireless Technology.
The RFID Consortium is intended to provide a structured approach for access to essential RFID patents, at a reasonable cost to the end-user, thus promoting rapid adoption of RFID. Consortium members: 3M, ETRI, France Telecom, HP, LG Electronics, Motorola, ThingMagic Inc., Zebra Technologies Corporation.
The Eco-Patent Commons provides a unique leadership opportunity for global business to make a difference - sharing their innovations in support of sustainable development. Sharing environmental patents can help others become more eco-efficient and operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner — enabling technology innovation to meet social innovation.
Via Licensing develops and administers patent licensing programs, or "patent pools," on behalf of innovative technology companies and for the convenience of licensees. Licenses are available to the essential patents for the following technologies: Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), AGORA-C, Digital Radio Mondiale, IEEE 802.11, MHP, MPEG-2 AAC, MPEG-4 SLS, MPEG Surround, NFC, OCAP/tru2way. You can find licensor under each licensing program.
mp3 licensing serves as the licensing representative of mp3 patents and software of the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany (co-inventors of mp3), Coding Technologies from Sweden (coinventors of mp3 PRO) and Agere Systems (co-inventors of mp3 Surround).
One-Blue, LLC is a company which has been established for the purpose of administering a one-stop shop licensing program for patents essential to Blu-ray Disc™ (BD) products. The following product categories will be licensed: BD-ROM Disc, BD-R/RE Disc (including BD-XL Disc), BD-Player/Recorder, BD-SW, BD-PC Drive, BD-PC.
Open Invention Network® is refining the intellectual property model so that important patents are openly shared in a collaborative environment. Patents owned by Open Invention Network® are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System.
To coclude, here is an extensive historical overview and study about patent pools "Survey of Patent Pools Demonstrates Variety of Purposes and Managem...", which provides a summary of features of 35 patent pools organized or proposed from 1856 to the present.
And here you can find some more examples and documents about patent pools: CPTech's Page on Collective Management of IP Rights: Patent Pool.
What do you think, do patent pools encourage innovation or not?