Proxim lost a legal battle with Symbol and the result may be that Wi-Fi vendors will be required to pay license royalties to Symbol: Proxim had to pony up $23 million in damages and must pay two percent royalties, though every other vendor is on the hook for six percent. The question will be whether Symbol decides to chase down everyone else. Symbol claims that some vendors are already paying the royalties but it wouldn't name which.
As Peter Judge points out in an email to Wi-Fi Networking News, it will be interesting to watch if Symbol approaches Cisco and how that interaction plays out. Cisco, with its deep pockets, could afford to fight a legal battle that argues against the recent ruling in Symbol's favor. Proxim basically said it gave in because it would have had to post a bond for a large part of the $26 million if it continued the fight and the company didn't want that hanging over its head.
In just about any situation, licensing can be sticky. On one hand, companies should benefit if everyone else uses technology that they develop. But one of the reasons that Wi-Fi has taken off so quickly and so widely is because the cost of products dropped so dramatically. If vendors had to pay licenses on many different components of a product, the price would have to rise which at some point slows down growth. We'll just have to wait and see if Symbol does chase everyone down and if so, what affect the six percent will have on vendors.