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Via Licensing combines with MPEG LA

Heath Hoglund, president at Via LA in San Francisco

The combined company will be called Via LA and will be led by former Via Licensing president Heath Hoglund

Patent pools Via Licensing and MPEG LA have combined to form Via Licensing Alliance, it was revealed today, May 2.

The combined company will consolidate dozens of patent pools into one organisation.

General Electric, Philips and Mitsubishi Electric, which all had partial ownership in MPEG LA, will have a stake in the combined entity.

Patrick Patnode, president of licensing at GE Ventures; Jako Eleveld, head of IP licensing at Philips; and Keiko Higuchi, head of patent pools in the corporate licensing division of Mitsubishi Electric, will all join the board of directors.

Heath Hoglund, president of Via LA in San Francisco, told Managing IP that MPEG LA had historically been successful with video-related patent pools, while Via had with audio-related pools.

“It’s a natural combination. The companies are very complementary in a lot of ways. It’s a great fit,” he said.

Hoglund, who was previously president of Via Licensing, spoke to Managing IP from the Licensing Executives Society International’s (LESI) annual conference in Montreal.

According to Hoglund, the combined company will initially focus on bolstering MPEG LA-managed pools that provide immediate opportunities for success, including the High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) pool.

“They have a long list of HEVC licensees, but there’s significant remaining opportunity.”

Hoglund added that he is keen for former Xiaomi IP head Paul Lin, who joined Via Licensing as a strategic adviser last month, to continue to advise the combined entity.

Lin has been instrumental in helping reach Chinese licensors and licensees, Hoglund noted.

“He’s been in the loop on this combination for some time, and I hope he does continue to help us. This creates a lot of new opportunities, including with Chinese manufacturers and patent owners.”

Hoglund said he first discussed the proposed combination at last year’s LESI annual conference in Venice. That meeting took place shortly after he joined Via Licensing in February 2022.

“This has been a year in the making and part of a long process. It’s something I focused on early on after taking the lead at Via,” he said.

Larry Horn is to retire as CEO of MPEG LA but will act as an adviser to Via LA.

This news comes at a crucial time for licensors and licensees.

The European Commission unveiled controversial plans last week to stamp out allegedly excessive royalty demands for standard essential patents.

Hoglund said stakeholders would still have to see how everything played out and that he couldn’t comment on the specifics of these suggested rules.

“The proposals, to me, are largely an endorsement of patent pools and very supportive of the balance we’re able to obtain,” he said.

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