Over a dozen automakers, including Toyota and Nissan, have joined a platform for patent licensing from 51 tech companies, with the goal of simplifying access to wireless technology and avoiding costly legal fights. Conflicts have arisen in part due to differing perspectives among automakers, suppliers, and technology businesses on who should bear the expense of licensing.
Avanci charges a fixed price of $20 each car, up from $15 before, with the proceeds divided among patent holders. Patents covering 2G, 3G, and 4G technologies from Nokia, Ericcson, and Acer are available to automakers for everything from navigation systems to sensors for automated driving. According to Avanci, the platform licenses 80-85% of automobiles with 2G technology or above. The strategy allows automakers to sidestep the royalty disputes that occurred between smartphone manufacturers and telecom operators.
According to an auto industry insider, IT corporations would prefer to engage directly with carmakers over telecommunications patents. Mercedes-Benz settled a years-long legal battle with Nokia after being compelled to pay. Acer sued Volkswagen for utilizing its 4G technology without the necessary license. Avanci is also collaborating with businesses on a new contract that will include 5G patents.