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FTC Seeks Input on Patent Holdup in Standards Development

May 18, 2011, 20:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

[ Thanks to Andy Updegrove for this link. ]

"Regulators are particularly interested in such situations, because once a standard has become widely adopted, the owner of such a patent acquires monopoly power over the market for those products. It can charge as much as it wants, or only grant licenses to some parties, or charge some parties more than others.

"Unfortunately, there's nothing that can be done if a company innocently realizes that it happens to own a patent that has already been implemented by hundreds of vendors. It can start demanding royalties, or sell the patent to someone else whose business model is to demand first, and sue later.

"But there is something that can be done if the patent owner is a member of the standard setting organization (SSO) that developed the standard in question, because the owner can be made to agree to the terms of the SSO's intellectual property rights (IPR) policy as a precondition to being allowed to become a member."

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