Landscaping standard-essential patents

By Dr Tim Pohlmann

Standard-essential patents are increasingly the subject of lively debate among market observers. Yet little is known about the overall number and occurrence of SEPs and whether they are worth all the fuss

Standardised technologies such as LTE, Wifi, radio frequency identification (RFID), near field communication (NFC) or high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) and are incorporated into many of today’s pioneering products. Standards specify a common language that allows different systems or products to work together. Standardised technologies often describe an innovative solution – for example, enabling fast and efficient communication between a smartphone and a satellite. Patents that would necessarily be infringed by any implementation of the standard are known as ‘standard essential’. Many standards that are subject to standard-essential patents (SEPs) are implemented by entire industries, which means that licensing them results in lucrative royalty income for rights holders.

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Issue 91