back to article Tech titans: Give it a rest with the SEP injunctions, wouldja? - economists

Standard-essential patent owners should be required to try to settle licensing disputes out of court in a bid to restrict the affects of litigation on market innovation, three prominent economists have said. In a paper for the Competition Policy International (CPI) think tank, Kai-Uwe Kühn, Howard Shelanski and Fiona Scott …


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  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Why just FRAND?

    Really, stop all of this injunction business on patents and allow the courts to swiftly decide the 'value' of such claims and then get party A to pay party B what is reasonable for it, and to enforce a transparent settlement so cartel-like operations to price out newcomers is not an option.

    Considering there are hundreds, if not thousands of patents, for any complex product we should see more sensible settlements of a few quid per half-dozen patents on a ~£200 device.

  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    SEP = Someone Else's Problem

    as is SEP-fields to render spacecraft invisible

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Amazed that does not happen already.

    Sounds very sensible.

    Getting adopted is going to be the tough part.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Amazed that does not happen already.

      Arbitration may be less costly, but it isn't necessarily more fair. There are instances where arbitration leads to power being concentrated to the benefit of entrenched interests which are not being as economically productive as they ought to be.

  4. Babbit55

    Rather than just FRAND why not all the crap patents? This business by litigation era needs to stop

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Crap patents should simply be invalidated.

      Non-SEP patents can be worked around or removed to avoid infringement.

      SEP patents cannot be worked around because they have been locked into an industry standard.

      Different rules for different types of patents.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: @Babbit55

        Crap patents should simply be invalidated.

        And how will we determine that a given patent is "crap", in a manner that is informed and fair?

        Honestly, the nonsense people post on this topic is simply amazing.

  5. JassMan Silver badge

    The real problem is,

    that it takes both parties to settle amicably out of court. The moment one party takes the line that they are not going to pay for a SEP because other manufacturers get it for "free" when they cross-licence is what brings the system to its knees. I am thinking here of a fruity company who have decided that the R of R&D is optional and spend all their money on lawyers instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real problem is,

      When has Apple refused to license someone's SEP because some other company is getting it "free" through a cross-license deal? They have refused because they believe the patents are invalid, because they believe the patents are not truly SEP and not infringed, or because they believe the asking price is unreasonable. All companies are in the business of making profit, so it is reasonable for any company to question the need for any royalty-bearing license. We have arbiters and courts to resolve these conflicts when they occur.

  6. Tom 13

    Not as good an option as they think.

    The only way the concept of FRAND is ever going to work is if the standards setting agencies become the patent holders for the technologies within their standards. in theory they have a sustained interest in licensing it to as many people as possible. So long as the patent is elsewhere, the patent holder doesn't necessarily have that interest. In practice you might find that even the licensing agency doesn't actually have a sustained interest, but they are the best shot you've got at it.

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