Access and Feeds

Patents: Balancing IP Holder Rights versus new Technology ‘Essential Patents’

By Dick Weisinger

FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory). It is a licensing commitment from the holder of a patent that is essential in order for a standard to become commonly used. It’s an agreement where the technology patent holder allows the patent to be used freely by others. The patent holder often can benefit by doing this because as part of a standard, it can advance a technology which the patent holder company has deep knowledge and often related products.

If no agreement by the patent holder is made, then it’s possible that certain technologies or advanced methods will simply not be available to anyone else. Essentially a patent holder can block development of a specific technology or aspect of it. This has become a difficult problem especially for new technology areas, like smartphones and Wi-Fi.

There is a difficult balance between advancing a whole new field of technology with also fairly compensating companies that have provided important innovation and research investment.

Karen Bartelson, former head of the IEEE, said that “patents and standards are the most challenging things to put together in tech.”
The EU is even recommending that key patents be made available via FRAND, like for AI. The EU recommended that “data interoperability amongst market players should be incentivized and required, where appropriate.”

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