The Debate Over Standard Essential Patents
Standardized technologies make it possible for devices and equipment to have common components so, for instance, a pair of headphones can plug into any headphone jack. These technologies are often developed through expensive and timely research so many of them are protected by standard essential patents (SEPs). This type of patent allows the holder to retain rights to the new technology while also charging a reasonable fee for others to utilize the invention. In 2013, the Department of Justice and the US Patent and Trademark Office announced that SEPs would no longer have the same protections as other types of patents. The decision was reversed in 2019, but the Biden administration Attorney General and Commerce Secretary have reverted back to the 2013 policy. Will weaker SEPs result in less technological innovation?
Brian O’Shaughnessy is the Senior Vice President for Public Policy at the Licensing Executives Society (LES) of the United States and Canada. Any expressed opinion in this video is his own, and not attributable to LES.