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Standard essential patents - EU call for experts

Standard essential patentsThe European Commission is looking for 15 members who will be part of the group of experts on licensing and valuation of standard essential patents (SEPs). Deadline to apply is 20 August 2018.

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The Commission has created the group of experts on licensing and valuation of standard essential patents (SEPs) as announced in its Communication of November 2017. The Commission has now also opened the call for applications for members of the group.

The intention to create the group was first announced in November 2017, in the Commission's communication setting out the EU approach to standard essential patents.

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Standard-essential patents

The interplay between patents and standards is important for innovation and growth. Standards ensure that interoperable and safe technologies are widely disseminated among companies and consumers.

Patents provide R&D with incentives and enable innovative companies to receive an adequate return on investments. Standards frequently make reference to technologies that are protected by patents. A patent that protects technology essential to a standard is called a standard-essential patent (SEP).

SEPs therefore protect technologies that are essential for complying with technical standards and for marketing products based on such standards. Standards support innovation and growth in Europe, in particular providing for interoperability of digital technologies that are the foundation of the Digital Single Market (DSM).

For example, computers, smartphones or tablets connect to the internet or other devices via standardised technologies such as long-term evolution (LTE), WiFi, or Bluetooth, all of which are protected by SEPs. Without the widespread use of such standardised technologies, such interconnectivity would not be possible. In the hyper-connected era, interconnectivity becomes even more crucial. A wide range of new products need to be interconnected, as to provide consumers with additional products and services and to create new business opportunities for European companies.

Experts on licensing and valuation of SEPs

The aim of the group is to increase expertise and know-how about the determination of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms, as well as the sound valuation of intellectual property, also in the context of the digitisation of the economy.

The group’s tasks shall be:

  • to facilitate an exchange of experience and good practice in the field of licensing and valuation of standard essential patents (“SEPs”);
  • to provide the Commission with the necessary economic, legal and technical expertise regarding evolving industry practices related to the licensing of SEPs, the sound valuation of intellectual property, and the determination of FRAND licensing terms;
  • to assist the Commission in the monitoring of SEP licensing markets to inform any policy measures that may be required for ensuring a balanced framework for smooth, efficient and effective licensing of SEPs; and
  • to assist the Commission in obtaining information on licensing and valuation practices in accordance with the Communication from the Commission on Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents.

The group will be composed of up to 15 members. It will include independent experts and members representing stakeholder interests.

Applications to join the group can be submitted up to 20 August 2018.

> Call for applications