The role of patents and standards bodies is critical to the future of the software and mobile computing ecosystems. After more than 10 years engaging on these issues, ACT | The App Association created this website as a repository for academic articles, legal cases, agency guidance, and other authoritative and credible writings about standards and fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing. We hope this resource will be helpful to those in industry, government, and academia who are interested in learning more about these important issues.
Principles for Standard Essential Patents
- Patents provide a clear and powerful incentive for innovation and continue to play an important role in driving competition and economic growth.
- Standards provide the foundation for the entire Internet ecosystem and are a critical enabler of innovative startups and small and mid-size firms.
- Holders of patented technologies that are essential to a standard may voluntarily commit to license such patents on FRAND terms, which allows standard essential patent (SEP) holders to obtain fair and reasonable royalties from a large body of standard implementers.
- Companies who voluntarily participate in standards bodies and choose to commit their patents to a standard under FRAND terms must live up to their promises.
- A commitment to FRAND patent licensing is a broad commitment that means:
- Fair and Reasonable to All – A holder of a SEP subject to a FRAND commitment must license such SEP on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms to all companies, organizations, and individuals who implement or wish to implement the standard.
- Injunctions Available Only in Limited Circumstances – Injunctions and other exclusionary remedies should not be sought by SEP holders or allowed except in limited circumstances. The implementer or licensee is always entitled to assert claims and defenses.
- FRAND Promise Extends if Transferred – If a FRAND-encumbered SEP is transferred, the FRAND commitments follow the SEP in that and all subsequent transfers.
- No Forced Licensing – While some licensees may wish to get broader licenses, the patent holder should not require implementers to take or grant licenses to a FRAND-encumbered SEP that is invalid, unenforceable, or not infringed, or a patent that is not essential to the standard.
- FRAND Royalties – A reasonable rate for a valid, infringed, and enforceable FRAND-encumbered SEP should be based on several factors, including the value of the actual patented invention apart from its inclusion in the standard, and cannot be assessed in a vacuum that ignores the portion in which the SEP is substantially practiced or royalty rates from other SEPs required to implement the standard.
Support for All Things FRAND
The content of AllThingsFRAND.com represents only the opinions of ACT | The App Association and its experts. It does not necessarily represent the individual positions of our member companies and sponsors. While others may submit material, ACT has full editorial control.
Many ACT member companies and sponsors have come together to support this project. Those companies include: