Xiaomi has announced that it has ended long-standing patent disputes with IP Bridge, Orange and Siemens. In fact, the Chinese company among the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world said it has entered into a transaction that provides for a patent license that grants it the rights to exploit several technologies.
Xiaomi – a company founded in 2010 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange – expressed satisfaction with the result achieved, as the agreement protects its customers from disputes, allowing them to benefit from the advantages of the innovations of the three licensor companies.
This agreement goes beyond what happens with the “patent pools”, consortia created by holders of patent rights for the management and administration of licenses of such rights among the participants. In this case, the patent pool of interest would be Access Advance, a consortium created for the administration of essential patents of the most important video codec standard technologies, including HEVC (acronym for “High Efficiency Video Coding”, a video compression standard approved on 2013). Other companies participating the pool include Google, Huawei, Samsung, Sony and Warner Bros.
However, Xiaomi – instead of entering into a license with the pool – has preferred to sign an agreement with the main owners of the technologies in question (and, therefore, on the one hand there are three licensors, namely IP Bridge, Orange and Siemens, and on the other side one licensee, that is Xiaomi), and this will probably lead other members of the pool to protect themselves in court against Xiaomi (as IP Bridge had initially done in Germany, but it will be waived due to the signing of the agreement in subject).
For their part, IP Bridge, Siemens and Orange also enthusiastically welcomed the end of the long-running disputes.
The event could question the ability of patent pools to enter into licensing agreements by exploiting the advantage of having only one formal interlocutor, even if the situation created between Xiaomi and Access Advance is to be considered completely anomalous in the panorama of patent pools.
In reality, some experts suggest that there is also the possibility that Xiaomi first acquires various bilateral licenses and subsequently enters into a license with the pool, as already happened to Daimler in 2021, when, after reaching an agreement with Nokia, it signed a license with the Avanci pool.