Entries in standard-essential (1)


Beginnings of a Battle or a Skirmish in the Patent Wars

An insightful discussion of the impact on standard-essential patents, and the administration's veto of the exclusion order issued by the USITC.

Obama veto leaves patents under a cloud - FT.com:

Those have been the tech industry’s first reactions to last weekend’s rare presidential action in favour of Apple. An exclusion order issued by the US International Trade Commission looked set to bar imports from Asia of some older models of the iPhone and iPad, until Mr Obama stepped in and overruled it.
The case involved Samsung intellectual property that all smartphones rely on to communicate over wireless networks – making it, in the jargon of the industry, a standard-essential patent. Companies with patents such as this have a special responsibility and shouldn’t use them to block rivals, the Obama administration said. The message: owners of such patents just lost a vital bargaining chip.
Three things are likely to flow from this.
The first is that the value of patent portfolios with a heavy element of standard-essential IP in them will fall. The losers are companies like Qualcomm and, ironically, Google; Motorola, which it acquired to get into the patent game, also owns technology foundational to the wireless industry. Licensees may seek to scrap old agreements if they think they could now negotiate lower licensing fees.

The second result of the Obama veto is that the smartphone patent wars are likely to drag on longer than they otherwise would have – though there is also less danger that they will turn out to be disruptive for consumers.
The third outcome is harder to predict. It relates to the longer-term changes in behaviour in the tech industry that will result from resetting the rules around patent enforcement – in particular, what impact it will have on the emergence of new technology markets.