The UK Intellectual Property Office has launched an open consultation on Standards Essential Patents (SEPs). The Call for Views is intended to inform the Government as it considers whether the existing framework for SEPs is functioning efficiently and strikes the right balance between protecting rights holders while also encouraging innovation.
Much anticipated, the Call for Views comes in response to the findings of the earlier Telecoms Diversification Strategy, where SEPs were identified as posing potentially considerable barriers to the Government’s stated ambitions of diversification of the telecoms industry. It also forms part of the wider UK Innovation Strategy published in July 2021.
Seen in an international context, the Call for Views sits alongside a similar review announced by the European Commission in its Intellectual Property Action Plan, published in November 2020 and a review of SEP policy announced by the US Department of Justice on 7 December 2021.
- The Call for Views seeks evidence and commentary from industry and other stakeholders, both domestically and globally, in relation to the following:
- The relationship between SEPs, innovation and competition, including whether the SEP ecosystem works effectively to support competition and innovation.
- Competition and market functioning, including whether the current competition framework impacts provisions in agreements between SEP owners.
- Transparency in the SEP system, including for example in declarations of essential patents and in pricing negotiations.
- Frameworks (patents, licensing and litigation), including whether the current patent regime creates a fair global market.
The Call for Views is open for 12 Weeks, closing at 23:45 on 1 March 2022. Stakeholders with an interest in SEPs are encouraged to participate in the review and be part of the international conversation on the SEP ecosystem.
We look forward to following the progress of the review in the New Year and to publication of the UKIPO report on the consultation in due course.
For more information contact Helen Conlan.