Standards are a tool that helps creators of new technologies develop innovative products that can reliably interoperate. As a result, consumers benefit from increased competition, innovation, lower prices and the easy adoption of new technologies.
A single technical standard can include many patents that are essential to implementation and are needed by any innovator using that standard in its product. Once a standard (e.g. a cellular standard like LTE) is adopted and massive financial investments have been made to build out infrastructure and networks based on that standard, the cost of switching can be exorbitant, giving standard-essential patent owners massive power to control the market.
To guard against abuse of this power, standards-setting organizations ask those offering their patented inventions for inclusion in a standard to voluntarily agree to license those patents on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. These voluntarily made licensing commitments are critical guardrails that ensure anyone interested in utilizing a standard can license the essential patents necessary to do so. This commitment provides a level playing field for all stakeholders.
Unfortunately, some standard-essential patent owners are reneging on their FRAND licensing commitments and exploiting their market power – delaying new technologies, reducing competition and strangling innovation. These abusive practices include:
Using the threat of injunctions to force innovators to choose between excessive royalty rates or pulling their products off the shelves
Strong-arming innovators into paying exorbitant and unfair license fees that are passed down to consumers
Refusing to license essential patents to certain manufacturers as opposed to offering them to anyone
Forcing innovators to license additional patents in order to license an essential patent
Standards empower innovators and innovators fuel the economy
Through their investments in R&D and creation of high-tech jobs, innovators who develop standards-based products contribute billions to the U.S. economy. Abusive standard-essential patent holders who demand unfair rates or selectively permit the use of their standard-essential patents restrict innovators’ ability to build new technologies and contribute to the nation’s economic growth.
Abuse of the system needs to stop so that innovation can move forward. Our coalition has one goal: to promote innovation, economic growth and recovery through the fair licensing of standard-essential patents.
About the Coalition:
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.
Decision-makers need to hold these powerful bad actors accountable and stop their abusive and anti-competitive behavior. This abuse is stifling innovation, competition and resulting in consumer harm and out-of-control prices for some next-generation technologies. We need your help. Join us.