A New Framework for Standard Essential Patents?
On 27 April 2023, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation implementing a new framework concerning Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) and their licencing.
The proposed regulation seeks to: “(i) make available detailed information on SEPs and existing FRAND terms and conditions to facilitate licensing negotiations; (ii) raise awareness of SEP licensing in the value chain and (iii) provide for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism for setting FRAND terms and conditions”, with the objectives of: “(i) ensuring that end users, including small businesses and EU consumers benefit from products based on the latest standardised technologies at reasonable prices; (ii) making the EU an attractive place for innovation and standards development (including for global participants); and (iii) ensuring that both EU SEP owners and implementers innovate in the EU, make and sell products in the EU and are competitive in non-EU global markets.”
The licensing of SEPs under FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory) terms is often hotly contested and there has already been a great deal of commentary from different stakeholders regarding this proposal - some in support of the proposal and some not. It remains to be seen whether, and in what form, this proposal will be implemented.