Last month, news broke that several of the largest vehicle manufacturers in Europe and Asia have joined the Avanci patent licencing platform. Joining the Avanci platform allows them to access licences for the wireless technology they use in their vehicles in a simplified way. Toyota, Nissan, Renault, Honda, Komatsu, Volvo Truck, and Stellantis were among the latest manufacturers to sign up to this industry-led patent pool solution, and more than 80% of connected vehicles on the road are now licensed to use technologies in the Avanci pool. Of note, some of IP Europe’s members are also part of Avanci, contributing patents to the shared platform.
The significance of the news is magnified by the capabilities that new innovations offer for connected or smart vehicles. With each successive generation of designs and models, new cars are increasingly taking advantage of mobile technologies to provide the best experience possible to drivers. Navigation systems, sensors for automated driving, and over the air software upgrades are only some examples of the value mobile technologies bring to cars and to drivers. For the legal use of the technologies that make these and other features possible, Avanci charges a flat fee of $20 per car – until recently, $15 per car, regardless of the final sale price of the vehicle or the manufacturer – for the licensing of patents for 2G, 3G, and 4G. At present, the platform is also working with industry on a new contract that will cover 5G patents.
This development, together with recent court decisions (including Nokia v Daimler and Sharp v Daimler), shows that the licensing system for mobile technologies continues to deliver benefits for automakers and drivers alike.
Avanci is a good example of how industry can reach agreements that are advantageous to both patent holders and implementers and that ultimately benefit consumers. It shows that the licensing system enables innovators to thrive, as it gives them the certainty that they will get a return on their R&D investments if their technologies are adopted by the industry. The open standards ecosystem ensures European progress, technological sovereignty, and sustainable growth.