A Legacy to Merritt
We recently announced the retirement of Bill Merritt after 25 years at the company and nearly 16 years serving as InterDigital’s president and CEO. During Bill’s quarter-century tenure at InterDigital, his contributions and leadership led the company through many significant changes and expansions.
Here’s a snapshot of the last 25 years of achievement at InterDigital – truly a legacy to merit, and a legacy for Bill Merritt.
1996: Bill joins InterDigital as General Patent Counsel. Over the next nine years, Bill came to lead and become president of InterDigital Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of InterDigital Communications, and was largely responsible for establishing and building out the world-class licensing program InterDigital has today.
1997: InterDigital demonstrated a broadband CDMA solution that delivered video over wireless – three years before the first commercial 3G networks were launched in 2000.
1998: InterDigital forged a four-year partnership with Nokia to leverage InterDigital’s wideband patent position and develop 3G cellular phones.
2005: After nearly a decade at the company, Bill was appointed InterDigital’s President and CEO and member of the Board of Directors.
2000s: Throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, InterDigital was at the forefront of developing 4G and 5G technologies. With representation in all major global wireless standards organizations, InterDigital has helped develop and shape technologies in every aspect of the network – from handsets to base stations and mobile edge computing; from IoT sensors to streaming video and beyond.
2007-2008: InterDigital develops and launches its SlimChip mobile broadband modem at MWC, delivering performance hailed by Signals Research among the industry’s best.
2012: Intel acquires <10% of InterDigital’s patent portfolio for $375 million.
2013: From small to significant: following arbitration win, license with Apple ODM Pegatron grows to 37% of revenue. InterDigital signs agreement to arbitrate with Huawei, leading to historic first Chinese license with market leader.
2013: InterDigital demonstrates working 5G platform at Mobile World Congress.
2013: Bloomberg recognizes InterDigital as most profitable company in the US on a per worker basis, and names Bill Merritt among “Tech’s Top Turnaround Artists.”
2014: InterDigital signs landmark 10-year license agreement with Samsung.
2018-2019: Under Bill’s direction and leadership, he created one of the largest long-term R&D and licensing companies in the world with the acquisition of the Technicolor Patent and Research & Innovation (R&I) organizations. The acquisition expanded InterDigital’s research team and capabilities far beyond wireless to include video, AR, immersive content, AI, and other key areas.
2020: Bill took InterDigital to lead the industry in launching a licensing transparency initiative to make expanded information about the company’s standards essential patent (SEP) licensing rate program, rate structure, licensing and arbitration principles, and important data about the SEP portfolio, more readily accessible. The launch set an industry standard and highlighted the fairness and flexibility of our licensing approach.
2020: InterDigital pioneered licensing relationships with leading Chinese telecommunications device makers. In January, InterDigital resolved a nine-year licensing dispute by signing a license with ZTE, and later that year in April, InterDigital signed a licensing deal with China’s device maker Huawei.
2021: Under Bill’s leadership, InterDigital has grown from a net loss position with roughly one year’s working capital to just under $1 billion in cash with just under $1.7 billion returned to shareholders over the last 15 years.