Standard essential patents are of key concern to many in the industry as they regulate access to standards that companies are required to implement in order to participate in the business landscape. It is thus important that a fair access to these standards is possible even in light of strong patent protection. The European Court of Justice consequently established the FRAND-Framework that regulates the licensing practices of standard essential patents.
Many questions remain on how the FRAND-framework should be applied in practice. One important question concerns the check for essentiality: usually, a company that believes to have a patent on technology covered by a standard will make a declaration to the responsible standard setting organization. However, given the complex matter of finding patent infringements and claim construction, the questions remains, who should assess whether a patent actually covers the standard. Should this assessment be made by the licensee, the patentee or even other organizations, like patent offices? Another important question circles around the timing: when should the assessment of essentiality be made? When declaring to the standard setting organization, when the patentee wants to assert the patent? Another key topic is patent quality. In light of the high invalidity rates before the invalidity courts, how can licensees be sure that the patents they pay licenses for, are actually valid?
These and other important topics on IP and competition law are being discussed during the exclusive “Fifth Intellectual Property and Competition Forum” in Brussels on the 6th and 7th of February, organized by OxFirst. During the conference, industry leaders, academics, policy makers and practitioners try to find answers to the important questions behind standard essential patents. We are pleased that our partner, Florian Meyer, will be representing Meissner Bolte on these important topics during the conference.