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QPSX and Telstra sign patents deal

WEST Perth-based QPSX Ltd has signed a deal with Telstra’s R&D arm for the licensing rights to three of the telco’s technology research patents.

The agreement, which has taken a year to set up, does not grant QPSX actual ownership of the patents, just the power to market and license the various technologies to interested parties. The technology portfolio includes patents in Australia, the United States and Europe.

QPSX will assume responsibility for all costs relating to any licence agreements, while royalty revenues will be split evenly between it and Telstra New Wave Pty Ltd.

A Telstra spokesman said the technologies QPSX will license are not related exclusively to the telecommunications field. One patent is for technology that enhances the performance and reliability of advanced communications networks, while an-other is a form of cryptography for authenticating data and securing net-works. The third is software for website navigation and monitoring.

The spokesman said Telstra was aware of the value that could be added to its research if it did not limit its focus to communications technology alone.

“Why hamper ownership and development of technology in Australia just by looking at something that has a direct telecommunications application? You might come up with a great idea, so you don’t just can it because it’s not specifically related to telecommunications,” the spokesman said.

QPSX was set up by Telstra (then Telecom Australia), the University of WA and other parties in 1987. In 1994 Telstra assumed full ownership of the company and then sold it back to QPSX management in 1998.

QPSX CEO Graham Griffiths said his company did not regard the deal as a legacy of Telstra’s ownership, but suggested Telstra might have felt a degree of confidence in QPSX’s abilities given the companies’ past relationship.

Rather, he said, QPSX was able to make the deal on the basis of its excellent record in commercialising various technologies, particularly in the telecommunications field.

The Telstra spokesman said the actual patent licences remained with QPSX and Telstra. The agreement was a way of on-selling the technologies that the patents represent so they could be developed into commercial products.

“Because of the commercial relation-ship with QPSX it is not so much an example of outsourcing because out-sourcing, from our point of view, would be to give all of the intellectual property and the management of Telstra’s patent technology to an outside party,” the spokesman said.

“It is a case in which we are using the expertise of a company outside Telstra to best make some of the products that Telstra is developing a commercial reality.”

The agreement is open-ended, though its continuation or conclusion will be based on QPSX’s success at licensing the technologies.

If QPSX performs well, Telstra will consider releasing other patents to that company for it to license, and it is possible Telstra will nominate QPSX as a preferred partner in such ventures in the future.

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