Patents and standards again: a valuable study

This weblog has focused a good deal in recent weeks on standards and patents. In this context, the Study on the Interplay between Standards and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), April 2011, is highly relevant. Commissioned and financed by the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission, this study was produced by the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication System and Dialogic in collaboration with the School of Innovation Sciences at Eindhoven University of Technology, and enjoyed the support of two legal consultants.

Ruben Schellingerhout, who kindly drew the attention of the IP Finance weblog to this study, explains a bit about it:
"The study shows that distribution of patents in standards is very skewed, both in terms of standards and in terms of owners. A few standards cover a large number of patents while most standards include only a few patents, or no patents at all [I had no idea that this was the case]. And a relatively small group of companies own a large number of essential patents in standards, while most companies own only a few or none of these patents. 

In the telecommunications and the consumer electronics market, implementers ensure access to essential IPRs most often via cross-licensing and - to a lesser extent - via general licensing-in and patent pools.

Legal uncertainty can still arise on the obligation to disclose, the irrevocability and the geographic scope of the licensing commitment and in cases of transfer of IPRs if they are still subject to a FRAND licensing commitment. Companies expect standard setting organisations to improve transparency on essential IPRs".
Thanks, Ruben, for your kind assistance.  Readers can access the report in full here.
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