Posts in Licensing

Implementer Arguments at the USPTO Public Listening Session on Standards Ignore Business Realities

Yesterday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a “public listening session” to hear from industry leaders on the topic of standard essential patents. The event was specifically related to the USPTO’s effort to obtain stakeholder input on questions regarding proposed international standards that were presented in a recent Federal Register Notice, as well as strategies identified in the White House’s National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies.

Atlas Global v. TP-Link: A Missed Opportunity to Clarify the Scope of Standards Related Licensing Obligations

A recent decision out of the Eastern District of Texas granted the plaintiff patent owner summary judgment with respect to the defendants’ counterclaim that the plaintiff breached licensing related obligations owed to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) by not communicating with the defendants prior to suing for infringement…. While the result is reasonable, the explanations provided by the court raise several questions.

We Want Your Input on Content for IPWatchdog’s SEP Masters Program

IPWatchdog will host the 5th Annual Standards, Patents and Competition Masters™ program on November 14-15, 2023. The program will take place at IPWatchdog Studios in Ashburn, Virginia, approximately 10 minutes from Dulles International Airport. The purpose of this high-level, interactive, limited enrollment program is to discuss what is happening in the Standard Essential Patents (SEP) industry today, from FRAND, to bilateral licensing, patent pools, multi-jurisdiction enforcement strategies and more.

A Tale of Triumph or a Tale of Caution? Dungeons & Dragons’ OGL and Its Effects on Intellectual Property

In 2000, Wizards of the Coast (“Wizards”), the creators of Dungeons & Dragons, faced a red pill or blue pill scenario. On the one hand, Wizards could continue to build its Dungeons & Dragons game, while carefully preserving its intellectual property rights. On the other hand, Wizards could risk or even waive its intellectual property rights by allowing third parties, especially the players, to use the Dungeons & Dragons’ intellectual property for their own creations with few limitations, allowing its players to help expand the D&D franchise. Wizards’ chose the second option – to limit its claims over its intellectual property and allow third parties to create their own custom D&D content. A Dungeons & Dragons empire was born. Twenty-three years later, we examine Wizards’ choice and its impact. In early January of this year, the gaming industry was outraged over a leaked document published by pop culture news outlet io9. The document was a draft of the most recent version of Wizards’ Open Game License, or OGL.

Avanci’s new 5G Vehicle Program – A One Stop Shop?

While the 5G program launch is a step into the right direction, the biggest challenge will be the new royalty rate. The 5G program is targeted at automotive OEMs, who if they join within the next 6 months (or before they ship their first 5G vehicle, whichever is later) will get access to all members’ cellular SEPs for a discounted rate of $29 per vehicle. After the 6 months the rate increases to $32 per vehicle for late joiners. While the whole automotive market will be happy about a SEP market share of 80%-83% (table 1), the new royalty rates will likely be discussed with a lot more controversy.

The Problem with Biden’s Executive Order on Federal Research and Development in Support of Domestic Manufacturing and United States Jobs

President Biden’s new Executive Order, “Federal Research and Development in Support of Domestic Manufacturing and United States Jobs” is well intended but fails to address a most fundamental problem. That is: the patent system is broken. While requiring agencies to assure that new research that utilizes Federal research dollars be manufactured in the United States, there is no way to enforce that.

NIH Tech Transfer Workshop Underscores Fight to Properly Characterize Federal Drug Pricing Authority

On July 31, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted a virtual workshop titled Transforming Discoveries into Products: Maximizing NIH’s Levers to Catalyze Technology Transfer. Public comments submitted to the NIH ahead of the event reflect current tensions between advocates supporting either private commercialization or government pricing control of federally-funded medical breakthroughs commercialized by private companies.

Biden Executive Order on Domestic Manufacturing of Federally Funded Inventions Hits the Right Notes—But the Devil’s in the Details

On Friday, July 28, President Biden announced a new Executive Order titled “Federal Research and Development in Support of Domestic Manufacturing and United States Jobs.” Rumors that the Administration was considering extending the deeply flawed Department of Energy (DOE) policy (see “More DOE Bureaucracy Equals Less Innovation” to all agencies had been swirling for months. Luckily, the new Executive Order doesn’t do that, but how it will be applied is subject to a convoluted interagency process, so it will be months before we see if it’s meeting its intended goal or not.

UKIPO’s Summary of Responses to Call for Views on SEPs Underscores Deadlock Between Innovators and Implementers

On Wednesday, July 5, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) released a summary of the responses it has received to its request for views on whether the country’s system for standard essential patents (SEP) is functioning properly. The goal of the request for comments and the subsequent report is to determine whether the UK government needs to make policy changes in this area. The Office received comments on a variety of topics related to SEPs, including the balance of the system, competition, transparency, patent litigation, and more. While both SEP holders and implementers reported problems in the system, the UKIPO found that there was little consensus among stakeholders as to the efficiency of the system and whether government intervention was needed.

Navigating the Tempest in the Ocean of Patents on Routing and Switching Technology

Imagine setting sail on a vast ocean, marked by established sea routes governed by mighty, seasoned mariners. These old sea dogs, with their extensive map collections (akin to patents), dominate the waters, leaving little room for new explorers. This is the situation young companies often find themselves in when chartering into territories monopolized by a few dominant players. The networking industry, ruled by giants like Cisco, Huawei, Juniper, Nokia, and Ericsson, mirrors this vast ocean. The waters are thick with “patent thickets” – tangled masses of patent claims, making it hard for fresh-faced voyagers to navigate without infringing on existing patents. Moreover, the sea is marked by “standardization” lighthouses, which while guiding ships towards interoperability and quality, impose limitations on the course of innovation. These beacons can also increase the cost of compliance, posing as formidable reefs blocking the path of emerging vessels.

Judge Picks ‘Overall Winner,’ But UK High Court’s Latest FRAND Ruling Delivers Mixed Results for InterDigital and Lenovo

The UK High Court today issued an Approved Judgment in Interdigital Technology Corporation & Ors v Lenovo Group Ltd [2023] EWHC 1578 (Pat). While Lenovo was declared the “overall winner,” InterDigital was awarded interest, increasing their previous award by $46.2 million. In March, the Hon. Mr Justice Mellor issued a judgment ordering Lenovo to pay InterDigital a lump sum of $138.7 million for a global FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) license covering sales of cellular devices from 2007 to December 31, 2023. It was the second full FRAND trial to be decided by the UK courts, following the landmark Unwired Planet case.

Music Publishers File Suit Against Twitter to Rein in Rampant Copyright Infringement

On June 14, a series of 17 music publishers, members of the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Tennessee against the social media platform, Twitter. The music publishers’ suit alleges claims of direct, vicarious and contributory copyright infringement by Twitter involving about 1,700 copyrighted songs, many of which continue to remain accessible in…

The Intersection of NILS, NFTS, AI Creations, Big Data, and the Metaverse

What is at the intersection of name, image likeness rights (NILs), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), artificial intelligence (AI) creations, big data, blockchain and the metaverse? Intellectual property, of course, because IP is connected to everything. New technologies necessitate updating intellectual property laws and regulations to address these advancements. Digital computing is advancing at warp speed, including AI, big data, transformative multi-media platforms and social media platforms. Governing laws and regulations are often obsolete, among them data privacy, but at the center of the intersection are intellectual property rights—copyrights, patents, trade secrets, rights of publicity, data rights, and trademarks.

Painting with a Broad Brush: The European Commission’s Failure to Distinguish Seeking Damages for Past Infringement from Seeking an Injunction

Previously, we wrote about how alleged concerns of “hold-up” and a lack of “transparency”, two non-legal terms without accepted definitions, are being used to advocate for special rules applicable to patents subject to declarations regarding Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing. These vague concepts are specifically chosen to obfuscate the real issues impacting FRAND licensing and used in an effort to shift traditional burdens of proof, regulate behavior previously found not to violate antitrust / competition law, and rewrite the express language of the commitment made by patent owners to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The European Commission (EC) is the latest bull to enter the FRAND licensing China shop.

New SEP Regulatory Framework and AI Copyright Legislation Advance in the European Union

On April 27, a pair of legal measures were advanced within the European Union that promise to greatly impact the state of technological commercialization within Europe for both standardized and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. While political leaders in the EU maintain that either proposal addresses consumer safety and competition concerns, multiple commentators have pointed out issues that could slow the rate of technological commercialization to the detriment of Europeans across the continent.