IEEE, the world's largest professional organization advancing technology for humanity, today announced the launch of the IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum. Through the forum, owners of patents essential to IEEE 802.11 standards will discuss licensing practices, options for licensing administration and other issues related to launching a patent pool for IEEE 802.11-2012 and appropriate extensions to the standard. The IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum was formed at the request of IEEE members in order to foster one or more patent pools covering IEEE 802.11-2012 technologies. IEEE in May announced the publication of IEEE 802.11-2012, which defines the technology for the world’s premier wireless LAN products. IEEE 802.11-based products are often branded as “Wi-Fi” in the market. IEEE 802.11 standards underpin wireless networking applications around the world, such as wireless access to the Internet from offices, homes, airports, hotels, restaurants, trains and aircraft. IEEE 802.11’s relevance continues to expand with the emergence of new applications, such as the smart grid and the “Internet of Things.” The IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum is designed to promote the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory availability of licenses essential to IEEE 802.11 through patent pools. The forum intends also to examine how to streamline the process of pool formation (such as by reducing the number of preliminary meetings, standardizing documents, addressing particular legal issues, etc.) in order to make such joint licensing programs feasible for participation by a wider scope of industry members and for a wider selection of standards. “Patent pools can play a valuable role in the lifecycle of a standardized technology because, for patent owners, they can reduce the burden of licensing administration and, for implementers, they can streamline the acquisition of patent licenses required to go to market with standards-based innovations,” said John Whelan, vice chair of the IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum. “I’ve had experience with a number of patent pools of a variety of structures, and, in many cases, the creation of patent pools is simply too protracted, requiring multiple meetings and the associated travel, effort and expense. One of the goals of the IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum is to see if we can streamline the process, toward making pooling accessible across a broader range of standardized technologies.” Thirteen companies are participating in the forum. Companies that have submitted or intend to submit Letters of Assurance covering IEEE 802.11 technologies are encouraged to participate in the IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum. To participate or learn more about the forum, contact Edward Rashba at firstname.lastname@example.org or Carter Eltzroth at email@example.com. The forum’s next meeting is scheduled to be a teleconference at 6 p.m. Eastern 29 August 2012. The IEEE 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum is an IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Industry Connections activity (http://standards.ieee.org/industryconnections). Through Industry Connections activities, IEEE-SA facilitates like-minded organizations and individuals coming together quickly, effectively and economically to build consensus at strategic points in a technology’s lifecycle. Industry Connections activities have the unique opportunity to leverage IEEE resources in a customized format to produce a variety of shared results. To learn more about IEEE-SA, visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ieeesa, follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ieeesa, connect with us on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1791118 or on the Standards Insight Blog at http://www.standardsinsight.com.