HomeInsightsOpenet celebrates Cisco deal, but Redknee says it has the patents

    Openet celebrates Cisco deal, but Redknee says it has the patents


    Is there a patent storm pending over real-time policy management? 

    Operator requirements for policy management systems are increasing all the time – and generating a growth opportunity for many companies. Openet’s CTO Joe Hogan told Mobile Europe this week that his company has answered 30 RFPs from operators in this area in the past 12 months.

    Operators need real time policy management both to protect themselves against customers over-using resources, but also to raise additional revenues, perhaps by granting privileges on the fly to customers, or guaranteeing certain content partners that their content will always be available – even to pre-pay subscribers without the necessary credit, say.

    When an area of need opens up like this, what usually happens is that lots of companies storm into the opportunity. Then there is a shake down, either through consolidation or the funding drying up for the less successful companies. You often get a protracted bout of legal wrangling too – as vendors protect their positions through the courts. Often this becomes the only money some companies ever make out of the sector – by licensing IP or sueing for IP infringement,

    In this instance the charge has been led by the real-time charging and payment solutions providers, as well as by the major NEPs, who either have, or OEM, their own real time charging solutions.

    One such tie up was announced this week with the news that Openet, a real-time charging and policy management specialist, had scored an OEM deal with Cisco for its policy management product, meaning that Cisco will integrate and market Openet’s FusionWorks Policy Manager product under the Cisco name.

    The deal combines Openet’s software for controlling the use of services and resources across networks with Cisco’s deep packet inspection hardware. Hogan said the OEM deal is an endorsement of Openet’s ability to provide carrier grade transaction management, and to deal with elements that sit at the edge of a network in a close manner.

    But there could be a storm brewing. Mobile Europe had a conversation with Redknee’s CTO Bohdan Zabawskyj in which the Redknee man hinted that Openet might be pushing it when it comes to Redknee’s own IP.

    It’s worth stating here that Zabawskyj in no way accused Openet of infringing on Redknee IP, but he did say this, in the light of Openet possibly having stolen a march with the Cisco tie-up.

    “How do we demonstrate our thought leadership? We have patents and patents pending in this space whereas Openet does not. We have had 16-17 granted to date and have 51 in the pipeline, and they have got zero,” he said.

    When asked if this was a veiled way of stating a view that other companies might be in breach, Zabawskyj said it was not. Just that he was merely demonstrating his company’s thought leadership in this area.