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Somebody Else’s Problem – SEPs and the Commission

EU CommissionSmall quantities of excitement have been created by the “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee” entitled “Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents”, linked on the Commission’s Patents and Standards page.  Given the largely innocuous content of the Commission-originating document and the complexity of EU decision making processes, the title may well be the most contentious thing in the document.  However, there are good reasons why the content is a little blander than might have been hoped, as set out in this article by Richard Vary (a distinguished standards warrior from his time at Nokia). (more…)

CIPA seminar: Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) Licensing and Litigation

Huawei

Huawei LTE patent

IPcopy watched CIPA’s seminar on Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) recently which was presented by Kevin Scott and Richard Vary. The seminar covered a number of topics: What is a SEP?; FRAND – what does it mean?; Licensee/licensor behaviour; Litigation venues (this part was also of wider interest than the SEP world); Unwired Planet v Huawei; SEP arbitration and the future.

What is a SEP?

The seminar started with definitions of “essential”, in the context of standard essential patents, from both the ETSI and IEEE organisations (see bottom of post for a copy of these definitions) before noting that this was quite a dry definition and the SEPs that we come across in today’s world are small improvement patents that can save a bit of power in a transmitted message or add a few extra transmitters into a particular radio channel.

The core technologies behind the smartphone in your pocket were standardised around 20 years ago but in the time since then many small improvements have been made. Kevin noted that the result of such improvements means that multiple people can now stream video while on their commute to work using a broadly similar amount of radio spectrum to that which was used to broadcast a few channels to the whole country. (more…)