Startup of the Week: RAPID MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES
Rapid Mobile Technologies was founded by Dr. Edwin A. Hernandez, Michael Grider and University of Florida Foundation. The company launched in 2010 with the mission of developing and commercializing patented technologies in the mobile and wireless area.
Our goal is the development and commercialization of our patented technologies in the mobile and wireless space. Our innovation areas are simulation and seamless mobility for telecommunication networks.
Reflect a bit on where you’ve been as a business, and where you aim to be in 3 years.
We expect to become a leader in wireless emulation technologies and mobility protocol specifications. Our short-term goal is to approach technology-licensing opportunities for our three patented products covered by our US Patents 7231330, 7697508, and 8213417. These patents give us exclusive license to our products MobileCAD and MobileIPP.
In three years, we see our company business model like Qualcomm or ARM, creating specifications and licensing our products to the wireless industry.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Our technology requires expensive equipment and development. Additionally, we need very skilled engineering talent, measurement equipment, spectrum analyzers, Faraday cages, and state of the art wireless software stacks.
Additionally, the wireless industry seems to be used to litigation when dealing with intellectual property problems. As you have read in the news, there are many patent cases even in South Florida.
In general, I think that many licensing attempts are not considered seriously, especially when small entities and startups are approaching large corporations. The challenge increases when funding is not available for legal advice. It becomes more problematic when very few attorneys are not representing mega firms and only a small percentage of those without a conflict may represent your startup in a contingency basis.
What remains the biggest obstacle?
Lack of revenues and funding for startups in this sector is a big impediment. We have also found use of our technology without a license, which decreases the market substantially in a highly lucrative but with small number of players. At this point, we also have a pending lawsuit against Motorola Mobility in Florida: http://edwinhernandez.com/2013/05/17/university-of-florida-research-foundation-rapid-mobile-technologies-inc-vs-motorola-mobility/
Are you currently looking for financing?
Yes, we are currently looking for financing; especially funding to develop 4G products and assistance to file for more patents in the areas of Wireless Emulation and Mobility Protocols. Wireless emulation is an area growing exponentially as more devices require certification, and many more are expected to be created increasing complexity in verification. Likewise in the area of mobility protocols, there are many opportunities solving the challenges from 3G/4G handover to WiFi; as well as, many more opportunities to improve mobile protocols and software to improve quality of service with today’s multimedia streaming applications.
Any last words?
Don’t believe that your Intellectual property, especially that owned by startups or Universities, is safe because it is protected by a patent. A sad reality is that if you don’t have the funds to defend it, and enforce it, you are better of not having a patent at all, probably a good idea is to make your software or hardware open source.
I would also recommend those who are trying to enter their products or services into the “Wireless and Mobile Communications” industry, to see the risks associated with the plethora of big competitors in this segment, mostly billion dollar companies.
Enabling many new technologies specially protocols, modulation techniques, base stations, software defined radios, mobile middleware, and many others might be difficult to compete and survive, as mega corporations might be already pursuing similar products.
Be very careful disclosing your software, technologies, and technical information without an NDA. Even better try to obtain a letter of intent without disclosing too much data.
Although it’s prudent to send a friendly offer letter and ask for a license to any potential licensee, you might find that you might never receive a response and if you do, it might be a defiant letter from the head of legal counsel. Hence, pursue legal advice from a professional IP Attorney, spend $5-$10K drafting letters, and put your business team to determine if you can really compete in this market. Retain an attorney for any conversations with any potential client.
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