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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Tuesday This and That


FRAND IN JAPAN--A March 23rd client alert from Louise Stoupe and Chihiro Tomioka of Morrison & Foerster reports on recent revisions to guidelines published by the Japan Fair Trade Commission whereby, under the Japanese Antimonopoly Act (“AMA”), holders of a standard essential patent (“SEP”) with FRAND (“fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory”) obligations--
“risk violating fair trade practices if they refuse to license their patents to a willing licensee or bring an injunction against an alleged infringer. This will make it more difficult for holders of an SEP with FRAND obligations to enforce their patent rights and could also lead to disputes over what constitutes a willing licensee.”
The client alert points out that the issue of whether a violation of a FRAND obligation was not directly dealt with in the original 2007 guidelines for the AMA. This has resulted in a number of legal disputes, most notably a cease and desist order brought in 2009 by the Japan Fair Trade Commission against Qualcomm for violation of its FRAND requirements. The client alert notes that the modified guidelines were published despite the fact that the appeal filed by Qualcomm against this order is still on appeal.

PATENTSVIEW PROJECT--For those Kat readers who are interested in patent data, fellow Kat Nicola has passed on a communication received from Alan Marco, Chief Economist of the US Patent and Trademark Office, who has issued the following announcement about the PatentsView project. The PatentsView search tool is described as allowing—
“… audiences to interact with nearly 40 years of data on patenting activity in the US. Use the tool to explore technological, regional, and individual-level trends through several search filters and multiple view options."
Regarding the most recent updates, Marco writes as follows:
“First, we have updated the PatentsView database with data through December 21, 2015. As always, these data are available through the search and visualization interface, as well as the API and the bulk downloads.

More importantly, the inventor disambiguation algorithm has been significantly enhanced using the output of our workshop winning team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (www.patentsview.org/workshop/). We have also enhanced the location disambiguation to ensure we are better capturing the geography of innovation.”
Marco emphasizes that feedback on this prototype is welcome.

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