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Posts Tagged: "Licensing"

The Good, the Bad and the Missing: Findings from a Review of the Data on Granted Retroactive Foreign Filing Licenses

Since launching Petition.ai’s searchable database of publicly available patent petition documents filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the most searched petition type, by far, is for a Retroactive Foreign Filing License (RFFL). Anecdotally, patent practitioners believe it is difficult, if not almost impossible, to obtain a RFFL. However, while the process may take a long time and may require several petitions, our analysis shows requests for RFFLs are often granted, eventually. A future article will examine the most common reasons why RFFL petitions are dismissed. Finally, our research uncovered some troubling issues with the substantial number of the granted petition decisions not available for public review.

Prosecution and Litigation Implications of Subsequent Patent Applications (Part IV)

In Part I of this series, the authors reviewed the law behind subsequent patent applications. In Part II, we reviewed the different types of subsequent applications. Part III discussed some of the implications of these for prosecution and litigation, and Part IV will examine some further implications. In the fifth and final installment in this series, we will distill all of the information covered to provide concrete practice tips for practitioners.

FRAND-Related Statements for Cellular Wireless SEPS: Implementer Obligations (Part V)

This is the fifth and final article in a series of articles analyzing statements made by various entities in the cellular industry regarding licensing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis. The fourth article focused on the obligations of SEP owners in the process of FRAND licensing. This article considers the obligations of implementers.

Breaking the 5G Curve by Looking Beyond the U.S. Patent System

A wave of thousands of 5G Self-Declared Standard Essential Patents (SD-SEPs) applicable to everything from devices to network infrastructure is fast approaching. The value of these patents is 6-10% of the retail product value, if recent LTE SEPs court decisions are to be believed. However, ex ante 5G licensing rates announced by traditional licensors Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, and Interdigital total around $18 (or 3.6%) on a $500 handset. Yet these licensors hold less than 17.4% of the relevant 5G SD-SEP families, which would make the total royalty burden 20% or higher. Implementers faced with high SEP licensing cost and uncertainty typically mitigate risk by: (1) using licensed components, (2) receiving indemnification, and (3) leveraging defensive portfolios. But there is another strategy that should be considered given the tools which are now available: preemptively challenging patent family validity in foreign jurisdictions that are relatively quick, inexpensive and often more effective.

Damages for Patent Infringement versus FRAND Licensing Rates

During a recent panel discussion at IP Watchdog’s SEP 2020 Conference, a question arose as to the difference, if any, between a reasonable royalty for infringement of a U.S. patent and a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) rate for licensing standards essential patents (SEPs). The following discusses this question and highlights some recent related judicial developments. According to an article titled “The Effect of FRAND Commitments on Patent Remedies”, appearing in the Utah Law Faculty Scholarship (hereinafter “Contreas et al.”), “there appears to be nothing in U.S. law that compels courts to utilize either the Georgia-Pacific framework, or patent damages law in general, to determine royalties complying with an SEP holder’s FRAND commitment”. The authors further note that “these two concepts (patent damages and FRAND royalty rates) arose via different historical pathways and are intended to achieve different goals”; the former being rooted in statutes and case law, the latter being contractual in origin.

SEP Owner Obligations: Analyzing FRAND Statements for Cellular Wireless SEPS (Part IV)

This is the fourth in a series of articles analyzing statements made by various entities in the cellular industry regarding licensing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis. The third article considered the royalty base to which FRAND rates apply. This article focuses on statements made regarding the obligations of SEP owners in the process of FRAND licensing.

A Swing (and a Miss) at NIH Tech Transfer

How many people or organizations could undergo an exhaustive investigation into everything they’ve done over the past 30 years and emerge unscathed? That’s what just happened to the technology transfer operations at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with the spotlight primarily focused on the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Of course, an exercise like this has to find something, so the report that resulted from this exercise is titled “NIH Should Publicly Report More Information about the Licensing of Its Intellectual Property”. After extensive digging, all it uncovered are some pretty small potatoes.

Maximize Your Patent Portfolio Using Helferich-Style Claims

Patent owners often obtain patents to protect products, as well as complementary products or use cases associated with those products. However, when selling or licensing the patented products, a patent owner may inadvertently extinguish potential revenue streams associated with the complementary use cases due to the doctrine of patent exhaustion. Patent exhaustion follows the basic idea that if a company sells or licenses a patented product to a buyer, the company cannot sue the buyer (or a third party that the buyer provides the patented product to under the license) for patent infringement for using the product. Patent owners should take care when preparing and licensing patents to ensure that infringement claims for complementary products or use cases associated with patented products are not exhausted by the sale or licensing of the patented products, as shown by the Federal Circuit case of Helferich Patent Licensing v. New York Times, 778 F.3D 1293 (Fed. Cir. 2015).

Federal Circuit Affirms $90 Million Verdict Against GSK Inhalers

On November 19, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Vectura Limited v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC in which the court affirmed a judgment entered against GSK finding that Ellipta-brand inhalers infringed patent claims asserted by Vectura. On appeal, GSK had argued that it was entitled to new trials on infringement and damages, but the Federal Circuit disagreed.

When it Pays to Talk About Your Secrets

The conversation begins, “Can you keep a secret?” “Yes, of course,” they say. What happens next? Naturally, you tell them what it is that you are going to trust them with. That’s the way it happens in personal relationships. In business, it’s usually more complicated. And it depends a lot on who you’re talking to. Let’s first consider the employee confidentiality agreement. In some smaller businesses, especially in the “low tech” economy, employee non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) may not be necessary, because workers neither create nor are they exposed to company secrets. But if you’re making things from a private recipe, or if employees learn sensitive information about customers, it’s a good idea to have these contracts. And if you’re in a knowledge-based industry, they’re more or less essential.

FRAND Royalty Base Statements and Cellular Wireless Standard Essential Patents (Part III)

This is the third in a series of articles analyzing statements made by various entities in the cellular industry regarding licensing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis. The previous article considered unconditional offers to license on a FRAND basis, arbitration of FRAND terms and conditions, specific FRAND rates, the application of such rates, and portfolio licensing. This article focuses on statements regarding the FRAND royalty base.

Negotiating Milestone Payments in Light of Force Majeure Events

With a worldwide pandemic, a gyrating economy, an erratic stock market, turmoil in many of America’s largest cities and a high-stakes election, 2020 has been a tumultuous year. Apart from the obvious anxiety they cause, such events may trigger force majeure clauses in joint-development agreements and licensing agreements. To what extent should licensees compensate licensors who terminate licensing agreements based on instances of force majeure?

Analyzing FRAND-Related Statements for Cellular Wireless SEPS (Part II)

This is the second in a series of articles analyzing statements made by various entities in the cellular industry regarding licensing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis. The first article focused on statements relating to transparency. This article looks at statements regarding unconditional offers to license on a FRAND basis, arbitration of FRAND terms and conditions, specific FRAND rates, the application of such rates, and portfolio licensing.

A Critique of Glory Days and How Reports of Anticompetitive Risks of Pools Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

In a previous article, we laid out the basics of “patent pools”, which license patents that are declared essential for technology standards. A recent article published in the University of San Diego Law Review, titled Glory Days: Do the Anticompetitive Risks of Standards-Essential Patent Pools Outweigh Their Procompetitive Benefits? (Glory Days), criticized patent pools, alleging inefficiencies and anticompetitive risks of pools for standard essential patents (SEPs). While the authors make several rebuttable suggestions, the crux of the authors’ complaints about SEP patent pools is that SEP pools should bear all the burdens and expenses of verifying with a litigation-grade level of certainty that all patents in the pool are essential and valid before an implementer will even engage in a licensing discussion with the pool. This approach is not economically or practically realistic and is designed to justify hold out and provide cover for implementers to refuse to engage in licensing discussions.

The Patent Pool Explained: An Effective Mechanism When the Burden is Shared

Implementers of standard essential technology such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE) are constantly attempting to reduce costs for implementation. This behavior has led to certain inefficiencies in the marketplace, such as innovators not being compensated for their contributions to technological standards. The symbiotic relationship between innovators and implementers cannot continue where one side takes all the risk and the other side reaps all the reward. One construct put in place by innovators to extract compensation from the marketplace are patent pools that license patents that are declared essential for technology standards.