IIT scientists present India's first 5G patent before global body

With India gearing up for the commercial roll out of 5G (high speed fifth generation of wireless networks) by 2020, scientists at IIT Hyderabad and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), an R&D society under IIT Madras, have tabled the country's first 5G patent before an international body that defines the global cellular radio standards for different generations of wireless network.

Once this global body of seven countries - called Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) - gives its nod to the technological specification, Indian manufacturers would be able to use it in their equipment and save huge amounts of money in royalty and licensing fees.

India had joined the international body, which is making standards for 5G, two years ago. US, China, Japan and South Korea are other member countries of this body.

The scientists - Kiran Kuchi, associate professor of IIT Hyderabad (principle inventor of the indigenously-developed waveform technology that forms the backbone feature in the up-link of 5G networks) and co-inventor J Klutto Milleth, chief technologist at CEWiT - have developed the technology under a research support project of the Union ministry of electronics and IT.

Though a research team, commissioned by the government to work on 5G technology, has filed 100 odd patents simultaneously in India and the US so far, this is the first patent whose technological specification has been presented to the world body for examination. Finally, there may be a number of patents for 5G from different countries, depending on different technological specification.

India earlier did not own a single Standards Essential Patent (SEP) before the introduction of the waveform by IIT Hyderabad and the CEWiT. "With this patent and others in pipeline, India can save huge amounts of money in royalty/licensing fees when 5G is introduced in the country. Right now, for every mobile handset sold in India, the buyer pays a certain amount in royalty and licensing to a patent holder abroad", said Kiran Kuchi.

Explaining the significance of this step, he told, "Standards Essential Patents (SEPs) are the ones that are written in the standards that every phone/base station manufacturer has to implement in the device. The SEPs are typically owned by large telecom companies. They derive patent royalties from their portfolio of patents".

He said, "The patent was presented at a conference held in Spokane in US on April 3 by 3GPP. It may take roughly a year or so to get the world body's nod. Once it is cleared, the telecom manufacturers will have to adhere to the specification".

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