Vendors primping their 56Kbit/s modem technologies to appeal to the international group determining the standard have proclaimed they will freely license their technologies if they are plucked from the runway of candidates.
Lucent Technologies this week pledged to license intellectual property contained in three of its patents related to K56 Flex modems, for which Lucent and Rockwell Semiconductor Systems Inc. make chip sets. Last week, K56 Flex technology's main competitor, 3Com which gained x2 technology when it purchased US Robotics. this year, essentially made the same promise.
The judge in this contest to determine the 56Kbit/s modem standard is the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which last week pushed back proposing the standard until January. A final vote on the standard is set for September next year.
Agreeing to license technologies if they are chosen as part of a standard is standard practice, according to one participant in the process.
"It's part of the normal standards process," says JoAnna Schooler, a Lucent spokeswoman. "Everyone's doing this now, trying to help expedite" the process, she says.
However, unlike in beauty pageants, it is doubtful that the ITU will select a single company to wear the standards crown. Instead, the Geneva-based organization will probably set a standard based on a combination of the competing companies' technologies, observers say.