A European Commission DG Growth initiative described in its Roadmap on Standard Essential Patents for a European digitalised economy aims to increase information on SEPs so implementers can get a better idea about which of these they might be infringing. Additional disclosures on how patent claims might read on the standards could be beneficial. Requirements should reflect the dynamics and uncertainties in standards development and patent prosecution and must not be onerous to patent owners. These are issues for standards development organisations to consider.
Imagine this scenario: Early stage company Smallco develops an exciting new technology, which it uses to create the prototype of its first product - Brakethroo! A large company in the same field, Bigco, becomes aware of Brakethroo, and realizes that if the product works as hoped, it could be a valuable addition to Bigco's product range. Bigco offers to buy the technology and product from the shareholders of Smallco. The merger and acquisition (M&A) agreement specifies an up-front payment, and one or more payments dependent on achievement of milestones. Bigco agrees to use "commercially reasonable efforts" to achieve the milestones. Smallco and Bigco sign the agreement, the shareholders of Smallco get an immediate payout and look forward to further milestone payments.
In March 2015, IEEE significantly amended its patent policy in what was couched as an "update" but that seeks to significantly revise commitments from parties holding patent claims essential to IEEE standards to license those rights on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms. Changes disallow patent holders from receiving any value attributable to the standards, require licensing at the smallest saleable patent practicing unit level, and deny these rights holders entitlement to seek an injunction against an unlicensed implementer until appellate review is exhausted. IEEE’s stated objective was to protect implementers from patent holdup, which was alleged without any substantiation. IEEE is promoting, by reducing technology licensing costs, the short-term interests of certain implementers while undermining standard-essential patent values and the ability of SEP owners to receive adequate compensation, they are entitled to, from licensing their SEPs.
In a major ruling that underscores judicial independence, federal judge Richard J. Leon has just unconditionally approved the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, rebuffing the US government's effort to stop the $85.4 billion deal.
The new US Department of Justice antitrust leader says antitrust enforcers are too accommodating to IP implementers when in dispute with standard-essential patent owners. Instead, patent owners should be allowed to decide how they want to exercise their property rights: "under the antitrust laws, a unilateral refusal to license a valid patent should be per se legal" – he also reminds us "the right to exclude is one of the most fundamental bargaining rights the patent owner possesses."
In an effort to move United States copyright law into the digital age, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998. The DMCA is the beginning of an ongoing effort to modernize the nation's copyright law.1 In an ever-changing digital world, copyright law must continue to evolve with technology.
Most of the existing literature on copyright infringement is concerned with the valuation of intellectual property rather than the apportionment of the value that is directly attributable to the intellectual property asset at issue. Further, few of the currently proposed IP valuation methods and little of the literature addressing the determination of damages appears directly applicable to the case of copyright in the context of artistic productions. Within the creative arts, recorded music offers a particularly complex and interesting case within which to explore this issue, as different portions of the relevant copyright to the recorded song may be held by different persons.
A recently affirmed decision to grant judgment for the defendant as a matter of law highlights the importance of expert testimony that is consistent with previously-disclosed opinions presented in a Rule 26 report. In Rembrandt Vision Technologies, Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., the expert's testimony was struck because of critical discrepancies, leaving the plaintiff with no basis for claimed patent infringement.
EIGHT YEARS AGO Congress decided that the existing means for awarding damages for trademark infringement were not deterring this illegal practice and decided to supplement these measures with statutory damages-a specific range that a court could award even in the absence of proof of a plaintiff's losses or the defendant's profits.
In the last 10 years, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided two cases involving naked licensing: Barcamerica International v. Tyfield Importers (9th Cir. 2002) 289 F.3d 589, and Freecyclesunnyvale v. The Freecycle Network (9th Cir. 2010) 626 F.3d 509.