We want to use a MIPI specification in a manner not authorized by MIPI, and don’t intend to ask for authorization—what will you do about it?

First, we’ll suggest this is a bad idea for both ethical and pragmatic reasons. Misusing an organizations’ intellectual property is unethical behavior and not the sort of business practice any company or organization should participate in. Further, the consortia-based standards and industry specification development system is based on mutual respect and trust.

Does MIPI Alliance ever authorize other organizations to use MIPI specifications?

Yes. MIPI Alliance regularly enters into liaison agreements with other organizations to enable uses of MIPI specifications desired by that organization. MIPI Alliance engages in this sort of cooperation when it has clear benefits for our members and for the broader set of industry stakeholders and consumers that we serve as part of our non-profit mission.

Can MIPI Alliance’s CSI-2 or DSI-2 specifications be used with a non-MIPI PHY without MIPI’s authorization?

No. The CSI-2 and DSI-2 specifications expressly require implementation over a MIPI PHY. Implementations over a non-MIPI PHY would thus be definitionally non-compliant, and therefore are not “Compliant Portions” as defined in the MIPI Membership Agreement. Accordingly, an implementer would not benefit from the royalty free patent licenses granted under the Membership Agreement, and instead would be subjecting their products to a dangerous risk of unconstrained royalty demands or injunctions that prohibit products from shipping.

Are there special IPR rules that apply to the I3C Basic Specification?

Yes. Typically MIPI specifications are made available only to members, and under the MIPI Membership Agreement licensing obligations apply only among MIPI members. The MIPI I3C Basic Specification presented a special case where the MIPI Board decided to make the specification publicly available, which presented the issue of how to extend appropriate patent license commitments to non-member implementers.

Why did MIPI Alliance update its IPR terms in 2019?

In the past, MIPI’s Membership Agreement applied one set of intellectual property rules to “Mobile Terminals” and “Accessories,” and a different set of rules to any other types of products. This distinction created confusion and uncertainty among members and prospective members, and generated concern about whether treating different industry segments differently was fair. MIPI updated the Membership Agreement to address this issue.

Are MIPI specifications royalty free?

Yes, in the sense that (a) all MIPI members are obligated to license essential patent claims to other MIPI members on a royalty-free basis, and (b) MIPI itself does not charge royalties.

The royalty free license obligation is subject to important definitions, limitations and caveats, described and defined in the Membership Agreement. MIPI Alliance encourages all parties to carefully review the Membership Agreement.