Communication from the commission on setting out the EU approach to standard essential patents

Print this page 13-12-2017

COM(2017) 712 


From the press release: "The interplay between patents and standards is important for innovation and growth. Standards ensure that interoperable and safe technologies are widely disseminated among companies and consumers. Patents provide R&D with incentives and enable innovative companies to receive an adequate return on investments. Standards 1frequently make reference to technologies that are protected by patents. A patent that protects technology essential to a standard is called a standard-essential patent (SEP). SEPs therefore protect technologies that are essential for complying with technical standards and for marketing products based on such standards.


Standards support innovation and growth in Europe, in particular providing for interoperability of digital technologies that are the foundation of the Digital Single Market (DSM). For example, computers, smartphones or tablets connect to the internet or other devices via standardised technologies such as long-term evolution (LTE), WiFi, or Bluetooth, all of which are protected by SEPs. Without the widespread use of such standardised technologies, such interconnectivity would not be possible.




The Commission therefore considers that there is an urgent need to set out key principles that foster a balanced, smooth and predictable framework for SEPs. These key principles reflect two main objectives: incentivising the development and inclusion of top technologies in standards, by preserving fair and adequate return for these contributions, and ensuring smooth and wide dissemination of standardised technologies based on fair access conditions. A balanced and successful policy on SEPs licensing should work to the benefit of start-ups in Europe and should serve all EU citizens by giving them access to products and services based on the best performing standardised technology."


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