Posts Tagged: "standards"

Bipartisan Groups of Administration Officials, Senators, Voice Opposition to New Joint Policy Statement on SEPs

Friday, February 4, marked the deadline for submission of comments on the latest iteration of the Joint Department of Justice (DOJ)-U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)-National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments. The request for comments came on the heels of President Joe Biden’s July 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which asked the three agencies to review the 2019 statement. In perhaps one of the most surprising submissions, a bipartisan group of former presidential administration officials jointly commented that the new version of the Policy Statement is “disconnected from the realities of SEP licensing,” “unbalanced,” and would “disadvantage the United States on the global stage.”

Collaborative Patenting: The Future of IP and Innovation

Collaboration has invariably helped people to maneuver the most significant challenges and hurdles. Like all other human accomplishments, technology players have collaborated and enforced methodologies to avert any obstacles faced while creating innovation-driven sustainable businesses, to enable technology-driven societies. While innovation can be both an individual and collective endeavor, shaping the final consumer product/service demands collaborative innovation and coordinated policies and frameworks. 

Mechanisms, Governance, and Policy Impact of SEP Determination Approaches

Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) are on the rise; the number of newly declared patents per year has almost tripled over the past five years. There were 17,623 new declared patent families in 2020, compared to 6,457 in 2015 (see Figure 1). The 5G standard alone counts over 150,000 declared patents since 2015. Similarly, litigation around SEPs has increased. One of the driving factors of recent patent litigation is the shift in connectivity standards (eg, 4G/5G, Wi-Fi) that in the past were mostly used in computers, smartphones and tablets, but are now increasingly implemented in connected vehicles, smart homes, smart factories, smart energy and healthcare applications. Another reason why litigation may rise further is the belief that large SEP owners such as Huawei, ZTE or LG Electronics may soon sell parts of their SEP portfolios, which may likely end up in the hands of patent assertion entities (PAEs). One way or another, it is anticipated that the majority of patent holders will actively monetize their SEPs covering standards such as 5G, Wi-Fi 6 or VVC in this fast-moving, high-investment environment. Any company adopting these standards must decrease operational risk and expense exposure by taking a proactive strategy towards SEPs rather than a reactive one.

Reexamining Three Preconceived Notions of SEPs as the 5G Patent Wars Ignite

5G—the next generation of telecommunications standards provided by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)—began implementation in 2019. It boasts significant technical benefits over prior generations, including higher speeds, greater bandwidth, lower latency, and larger coverage areas. Unlike previous 3GPP standards, 5G is not limited to cellular phones. Rather, 5G will support a plethora of technologies ranging from Enhanced Mobile Broadband to Massive Internet of Things. Accordingly, 5G will support a tremendous amount of economic activity: by 2026, 5G will have 3.5 billion subscribers and will account for 84% of mobile subscriptions in the United States. By 2035, 5G is expected to underly $13.1 trillion in global economic activity, accounting for 0.2% of the 2.7% projected annual global GDP growth.

The Role of Standard-Essential Patents for the Auto Industry

Most market experts predict dramatic changes in the auto industry because of shifting consumer preferences, new business models and emerging markets. The sector also looks set to be heavily affected by new sustainability and environmental policy changes, as well as by upcoming regulations on security issues. These forces are predicted to give rise to disruptive technology trends, such as driverless vehicles, electrification and interconnectivity. Forecast studies posit that the smart car of the near future will be constantly exchanging information with its environment. Car-to-X or car-to-car communication systems will enable communication between cars, roadsides and infrastructure, while mechanical elements will soon be embedded into computing systems within the internet infrastructure. The auto industry is one of the first sectors to rely on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, which connect devices, machines, buildings and other items with electronics, software or sensors. Interconnectivity across multiple vehicle parts and units relies on the specification of technology standards such as 4G or 5G, Wi-Fi, video compression (HEVC/VVC), Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) and Near Field Communication (NFC) or the wireless charging Qi standard to name a few.

Allegedly ‘Late’ Disclosure of IP Rights to ETSI Does Not Make Patents Unenforceable in the U.S. or UK

Two recent court decisions in the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively, have considered (i) the disclosure obligation pursuant to Clause 4.1 of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, and (ii) the impact this has on the enforceability of a patent subject to the Policy…. Both decisions were in the ongoing patent and fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) related litigations between Optis and Apple. In summary, the decisions confirmed that neither Optis nor its predecessors had breached their duty to disclose IPR to ETSI under clause 4.1, nor did the timing of their disclosures constitute egregious misconduct, so as to result in an implied waiver under U.S. law, or in the case of the UK, a proprietary estoppel, preventing or restricting enforcement of the patent.

HEVC Royalty Stacking and Uncertainty Threaten VVC Adoption

he Versatile Video Coding standard (VVC), finalized in 2020, is now entering a fragmented, multi-codec market. However, VVC’s adoption is uncertain in the face of competitive video solutions that are subject to lower or no royalties. VVC owes thanks for this to the excessive royalties and licensing uncertainties that continue to plague VVC’s predecessor, HEVC. Over the past five years, the formation of multiple pools for HEVC has led to licensing inefficiencies and royalty stacking that have hampered HEVC’s adoption. This has prompted the video industry to develop competitive, lower cost solutions, such as the Alliance for Open Media’s Advance Video 1 codec (AV1) and MPEG’s Essential Video Codec (EVC) and Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding (LCEVC) standards. These video solutions, together with the already existing AVC and HEVC standards, provide a lot of choices to device manufacturers, streaming platforms, and content owners. VVC’s chances of success are further weakened by the dramatic decreases in broadband download, shown below, and video storage costs, which negate any gains in compression efficiency generated by VVC for most uses.

Standard Essential Patents and Legal Risks Across Industries

The next industrial revolution will not only impact the smartphone and computer world but will spread to many more industrial verticals. Automotive, manufacturing, energy, health care, and MedTech are among the industries most likely to be impacted by connectivity, as they have high-value equipment that is constantly networked and needs to handle massive amounts of data. Standards such as 5G or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) will connect industrial machinery and robots allowing for remote control, monitoring, and repair, as well as industrial automation. From smart grids to drone control, energy and utility, companies will rely on standards to handle massive data. Connectivity standards will be used by hospitals and medical equipment manufacturers to provide data to a variety of tablets and fixed machines, as well as to enable remote surgery. Enhanced monitoring and automation are likely to assist industries as diverse as agriculture and finance. Online shops will increasingly turn to virtual reality experiences. 5G based tracking will emerge in the logistic sector. Edge computing and low latency of 5G and the improved compression of the versatile video coding (VVC) standard will be used in the gaming business, as well as in general augmented and virtual reality applications. As transportation operators rely on connectivity standards to connect smart city infrastructure, media companies will boost mobile streaming speeds and quality. Over the next few years, when advanced cellular, wireless and video standards replace existing protocols, these developments will occur swiftly.

A Licensor’s FRAND Commitments Do Not Limit A Licensee’s Rights

Part one of this two-part series responding to a series of articles on FRAND statements addressed the appropriate royalty base for cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs). This article now addresses the fourth and fifth articles in that series, where the authors describe the “FRAND process.” The authors start from a mistaken premise that holders of SEPs subject to FRAND commitments enjoy more rights than all other patent holders traditionally possess, and that SEP holders’ FRAND commitments impose obligations on potential licensees rather than on the SEP holders themselves. For example, the authors appear to recoil at the idea that “SEP owners should prove to prospective licensees that licenses are needed.” As the authors apparently conceive of the FRAND process, potential licensees have no right to challenge the claims of SEP holders as to the necessity of a license. The only relevant question to them appears to be how large a royalty payment should be, without regard to the patent merits.

Unpacking 5G SEPs and Standards Contribution Data

With multiple reports published by many different entities on 5G leadership, it is hard to know who to believe, as there is little transparency about where the data comes from and what types of analysis were applied to retrieve the results, let alone how to try to reproduce any such analysis yourself. Most of the time, understanding standard essential patents (SEPs), standards and patents requires access to multiple databases, the valuable time of your subject matter experts, as well as both in-house and outside counsel. In the end, it can appear that you are spending far more resources on gathering the data than on gaining actionable knowledge from it to understand what it means to your business, your portfolio and your strategy.

5G RAN Developments: Landscape and Liability

Changes in the 5G radio access network (RAN) are likely to increase interest in monetizing patents essential to RAN equipment and operations (RAN SEPs). One of these changes is the significant increase in the volumes of equipment like radio units (RUs) expected over the next decade. For example, China alone plans to deploy 6 million 5G cells by 2027, at an average cell spend of $28,500. Other changes likely to spur 5G RAN licensing are the increase of new entrants to the RAN equipment market and the use of open source software and off-the-shelf hardware in new RAN deployments. These latter changes are driven by the new Open RAN model promoted by operators seeking to break vendor lock in and foster equipment democratization and price competition. These changes naturally could pose a threat to the traditional RAN equipment businesses

5G RAN Developments: Challenges and Opportunities for Patent Licensing in a 5G Future

Much has been said about how 5G will better use the airwaves, giving wings to new communications between people and between devices. Little has been said though about how 5G could change markets and industries. The equipment market for the radio access network (RAN) is a good example of just one market that is now caught in the updraft of such change. Another market bound to rise is the market for patent licensing—and, in particular, standard essential patent licensing for 5G RAN. To help make sense of the 5G patent licensing market,  we have developed an AI-based 5G landscaping tool to help identify and weigh the relative patent portfolios (OPAL) and an indexed repository of all technical contributions made to 3GPP 2G-5G standardization work (OPEN).

David Kappos Reflects on the Developing Landscape for SEPs at IPWatchdog’s SEP2020

On day one of IPWatchdog’s SEP2020, keynote speaker David Kappos told IPWatchdog President and CEO Gene Quinn that the IP community should not panic about what a Biden administration might mean for standard essential patents (SEPs), or IP more broadly. “I have reason to believe we could see a positive continuation of what we’ve seen in recent years,” Kappos said. “President-Elect Biden comes from a background where he under[stands] IP. I worked with him on IP issues under the first Obama administration and he demonstrated an appreciation for the balance that involves intellectual property. He comes from a state – Delaware – that means business about IP, with a strong specialty chemicals industry in that state, and a strong patent jurisprudence.” Additionally, Biden would have people like Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), who has been “an extremely strong advocate for strong intellectual property,” around him. “I have a tremendous faith in [Coons] as a force for making sure we continue going in the right direction,” Kappos added.

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.

The UK’s Need to Protect Its Position at Home and Abroad: A Commentary on the UK Supreme Court Ruling in the Conversant Cases

Standards such as WiFi, GSM, 2G, 3G or 4G/LTE have been central to connecting the world. During the Covid-19 crisis, it was thanks to the technologies these standards enable that the global economy did not totally collapse. As we “zoomed” our way through self-isolation, the UK Supreme Court issued a landmark judgment, as reported by IPWatchdog. The decision addresses the cross-border enforcement of standard essential patents. Standard essential patents (SEPs) need to be addressed on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms. FRAND aims at addressing anti-competitive conduct that can stem from matching patent law with standardization. Because these standards enable interconnectivity, they are of great importance.