Volkswagen is latest carmaker to join Avanci’s 5G licensing programme

Group that includes Audi and Seat joins more that 25 automotive brands that can now use the standard essential patents of more than 60 patent holders

Some 62 licensors have signed up to the Avanci 5G vehicle licensing programme Shutterstock

The licensing platform Avanci has signed the Volkswagen Group to its 5G vehicle licensing programme, bringing the number of automotive brands to more than 25 since its inception six months ago.

The Volkswagen group, which includes such well known brands as Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, and Škoda Auto, are now licensed to use the 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G standard essential patents (SEPs) of more than 60 patent holders participating in the programme, as well as any other patent holders that participate as licensors in the future. Other licence holders include Philips, Sony, Samsung and Huawei.

There has been a speedy uptake from some of the world’s leading car makers, with Mercedes Benz the first to the starting line in August, and US car maker General Motors only signing last week on 13 February.

The one licence covers thousands of patented technologies essential for implementing cellular connectivity. 

Avanci’s 5G licensing price is $32 per vehicle with a base running royalty, the licence includes 2G, 3G and 4G.

Laurie Fitzgerald, president at Avanci Vehicle, said: “We are delighted that Volkswagen Group is taking part in our licensing program for its next generation of connected vehicles."

On the signing of General Motors, Fitzgerald said that since it launched in August last year, “we’ve seen the program grow to include more than a dozen automotive brands and over 60 licensors, reflecting continuing momentum for our global, one-stop solution".

Discussing whether participating in licensing programmes like Avanci helps automakers completely avoid fair reasonable and non discriminatory (FRAND)/SEP litigation, Ben Volk, a partner at US law firm Thompson Coburn, said this was more of a “get ahead” situation than a “completely avoid” situation.

He continued that with licensing programmes like the Avanci 5G Vehicle, the licensor is able to bundle up the rights to large swathes of the wireless connectivity patents, and an automaker can “effectively eliminate the risk posed by those large swaths of patents by paying for a licence”.

He added that there would still be other wireless connectivity patents out there that could pose risks for automakers, but a licensing programme like Avanci’s “knocks out a big chunk of patents from many of the big players in the 5G wireless connectivity space”.

Avanci 5G Vehicle builds on Avanci 4G Vehicle. More than 150m connected vehicles on the world’s roads from almost 100 automotive brands are already covered by an Avanci 4G vehicle licence. 

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