What’s at Stake
The global economy is more and more dependent on wireless and digital technologies built on the foundations laid by technical standards. It is increasingly critical for companies to be able to obtain licenses for patents that are needed to use these standards. Left unchecked, the abusive and rent-seeking actions of patent trolls and some others who hold patents that are essential to these standards will continue and may expand to affect a diverse range of industries, thereby threatening the future of competition and innovation. From automakers and medical device manufacturers to agriculture and energy companies, the more reliant industries become on wireless and digital technologies, the more destructive the impact of this abuse can be. Unless this behavior stops, these gatekeepers can hold the innovation economy hostage and inhibit the creation and use of new critical 5G applications and services including artificial intelligence, connected vehicles, AR/VR and Internet of Things (IoT)-related applications.
IoT is revolutionizing agriculture thanks to data-informed farming. Digital tools like smart sensors and connected farming systems are just as important as traditional farming equipment and provide valuable real-time data that can improve yields and resource utilization while lowering labor costs. Given the growing role of connected technologies in agriculture, the actions of these abusive patent holders threaten the productivity and efficiency of this critical sector.
From remote health monitoring to remote surgery, IoT and wireless technologies are playing a vital role in helping patients and healthcare providers improve public health outcomes, including in the fight against COVID-19. It is imperative that creators of the next generation of medical innovations are not held back by essential patent holders seeking to unduly benefit at the expense of this life-saving technological progress.
The energy sector is rapidly evolving. The growth of smart electricity meters in both industrial and residential settings has the potential to revolutionize energy savings – but only if abusive essential patent holders do not stand in the way of innovators looking to offer customers more efficient energy solutions.
Advanced Manufacturing & Technology
Advancements in robotics and the connected shop floor are transforming traditional manufacturing and creating many unique opportunities. But these innovations leverage technical standards and wireless connectivity, putting abusive essential patent holders in a position to block the growth and evolution of the advanced manufacturing sector.
Automakers are currently experiencing a drag on innovation posed by this abuse. Abusive essential patent holders are refusing licenses to automotive suppliers and charging exorbitant rates for the essential patents that bring cellular connectivity to cars, thereby slowing the development of important innovations that will greatly enhance safety on the roads and save lives.
IoT can transform education by creating connected classrooms that power 21st-century learning and provide enhanced learning opportunities for disadvantaged and underserved populations. All students stand to benefit greatly from this technology’s potential, but only if innovators are able to license the standard-essential patents that will make the connected classroom a reality.
Save Our Standards is a broad-based coalition of innovators, associations, academics, and consumer groups dedicated to reinforcing the FRAND licensing commitment and its important role in technical standards to enable competition and innovation that directly benefits consumers. We work to educate decision-makers and stakeholders on policies that allow all innovators to thrive through pro-competitive practices and the reinforcement of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing terms for standard-essential patents.