SEP regulation: a step in the right direction
BRUSSELS, 28 April 2023 – IP2Innovate welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to reform the licensing of standard essential patents.
“This initiative should at least help level the playing field when standard essential patents licensing is involved,” said Patrick Oliver, executive director of IP2Innovate.
“The proposal isn’t as bold as it was a week ago, but it still has certain important reforms in place. Opponents of this reform have lobbied intensely for the Commission to abandon it. I hope that in an effort to compromise, the Commission hasn’t opened up loopholes that would undermine its effectiveness,” he added.
IP2Innovate welcomes the Commission’s effort to inject much needed transparency into SEP licensing, limiting the instances where patent owners could abuse the system.
In his press conference on 27 April, Commissioner Thierry Breton referred to how the current SEP system enables patent owners to extract excessive royalties.
“He is right. This happens not only with SEPs but also in the broader patent system too,” said Mr Oliver, adding: "We hope he is also right when he says this practise will become impossible in the areas of SEPs, and that he then turns his attention to fixing related problems that plague the broader patents system in Europe.”
IP2Innovate members collectively have thousands of European patents, including SEPs. They believe that patents play a vital role in the innovation process. But when the system is abused patents become an obstacle to innovation. And it’s not only happening with SEPs. Many patent assertion entities (PAEs) are in business to exploit the weaknesses in the system.
IP2Innovate was established in 2016 to combat patent abuse by these PAEs, often referred to as patent trolls. It has been pushing for courts to move away from granting automatic injunctions in patent disputes, and instead apply remedies that are proportionate, especially when highly complex products are involved.