Patent hold-out is our number one challenge, says Ericsson CIPO in build-up to this year's IPBC Global

Patent hold-out is our number one challenge, says Ericsson CIPO in build-up to this year's IPBC Global

The clock is ticking down to IPBC Global 2018, which is being held at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco from 10th to 12th June. As ever, we have a stellar speaking faculty for the event. This not only features keynote speakers Anderi Iancu, Sue Siegel and Benoît Battistelli, but also an array of senior corporate IP business leaders.

We have spent many months putting the speaker line-up together to ensure a wide range of value creation experiences and perspectives will be available to the 550+ delegates who will be joining us at the Palace. It is one of the things that makes IPBC Global such a unique occasion: no other event offers the opportunity to meet with and learn from such senior IP figures operating in so many industries from so many parts of the world. As a result, new perspectives and fresh insights about IP value creation are guaranteed. 

Among rainmakers participating this year is Ericsson chief IP officer Gustav Brismark. He has been in position since 2016 and before that was vice president of patent strategies and portfolio management at the Swedish company, which he joined straight from university in 1986. In the lead up to this year’s conference, Brismark took some time out of his busy schedule to share some insights on his current role, as well as what he hopes to get out of IPBC Global this year.  

Can you describe your role at Ericsson?

In my role as chief IP officer and head of IPR & licensing, I am responsible for the creation and management of Ericsson’s patent portfolio, and patent licensing worldwide. By patenting and licensing the inventions of Ericsson engineers, my team and I make sure there is continuous growth and value creation for Ericsson, for the wider industry and for consumers everywhere.

What are the key issues confronting you and Ericsson currently in the IP field?

There are many, but if I had to pick one that has been at the front of my mind for some time it would be patent hold-out, which is supported by those seeking to de-value patents in general and standard essential patents in particular.

As a result of the current debate around the meaning of FRAND and enforcement of essential patents, licensees are getting bolder in dragging their feet in negotiations. If the worst thing that can happen is that they pay the same FRAND royalties that they would have paid if they had negotiated, they are not incentivised to talk, but rather to delay for as long as they can, including through litigation tactics.

We do see some positive signs here recently, with the statements from US DoJ AAG Delrahim and the Huawei v ZTE case in the CJEU clarifying things in the EU; but still, in many parts of the world, infringers see a business case in holding out and refusing to negotiate.

Why is IP value creation such an important issue for Ericsson?

It is important to any creator of new technology to retain ownership and control of its innovations and inventions; for example, in our case those relating to 4G/LTE and 5G/NR.

Licensing patents essential to technology rich standards, like 5G/NR, is crucial for the development and adoption of open, collaborative standards, and as such an enabler of innovation and growth in our industry and in society at large. Spending so much on R&D and making the results available to others is not sustainable without a fair return on that investment through things such as FRAND licensing.

As a speaker at IPBC Global - and a highly experienced IP leader - what do you look forward to most about the event?

IPBC Global always has a great agenda with something interesting for everyone, and therefore attracts all the right people. In the end, the most important part of any event is the networking and the opportunity to meet peers and discuss recent developments and plans going forward.

The IP industry is ever changing and ever evolving -- how does IPBC Global help you hear from different stakeholders about current developments?

The organisers of IPBC events are good at keeping their ear to the ground and pick current topical themes for their programmes. I think that generally you also get balanced discussions in the panels, with relevant speakers representing different interests.

This year you are taking part in one of the CIPO scenarios plenary sessions. This will involve a panel of senior IP leaders explaining how they would react to the kinds of critical IP situations that might have a major impact on the businesses they work for. What do you think delegates will get from this?

It’s good to try new things at conferences and I think it’ll be a fun way of understanding how CIPOs think and work, without us having to go into real situations and issues, which could be sensitive.

What is your best IPBC Global memory?

A couple of years ago in Barcelona, I think: the surroundings were spectacular, with a great start with a welcome reception on the terrace. I remember having many exciting discussions with peers over delicious meals right on the beach there!

What topic do you think will feature most heavily in the side meetings and networking discussions during IPBC Global this year?

I think the new directions in the US of the DoJ and the USPTO, with AAG Delrahim and Director Iancu as leading proponents, is going to feature heavily on people’s minds and in most corridor discussions. It’s a big change from the previous administration, and likely to be differently viewed by different delegates.

What do you expect to get from IPBC Global this year?

I expect to meet the people that matter in the IP community, participate in lots of interesting discussions on and off stage, and hear what’s going on in all parts of the industry – just like every year!

There are only limited numbers of delegate places now available for IPBC Global 2018, so if you want to debate with and gain insights from the Ericsson CIPO, as well as dozens of other senior corporate IP decision makers, you are strongly advised to secure your ticket as soon as possible. You can do it here.  

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