UK IPO launches call for views on Standard Essential Patents, innovation and competition

As published today on, the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a call for views on Standard Essential Patents (SEPs), intended to inform the position on whether the present framework requires change in order to best support innovation. 

This is a highly topical issue, with methods or devices which utilise technology that is essential to implementing a standard often being protected by patents, running the risk that a third-party manufacturer would be unable to create standard compliant products. Prominent examples include the wireless technologies used in smartphones and connected cars. As such, access to SEPs is to be granted on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND), with previous IPKat coverage of both topics available here and here, respectively. 

Moreover, interoperability and ability to communicate between products from different manufacturers is vital in order to provide consumer functionality, a concern which is of increasing importance in an age of the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI and often also reliant on these standards.

The IPO states that it recognises that overcoming some of the challenges may require global collaboration to reflect the fact that business is global, and business does not operate in isolation. The call for views will gather a wide range of evidence on the following: 

  • The link between SEPs, innovation and competition and how these elements interrelate with each other.   
  • The functioning of the market, and whether there is an imbalance between the licensor and licensee.    
  • Transparency in the SEPs ecosystem.
  • The efficiency of SEPs licensing, functioning of the patent framework and FRAND litigation.
According to the IPO’s Chief Executive, Tim Moss:

The call for views will enable us to hear a broad range of views around the challenges faced by industry.  It will help us better understand how our IP framework supports the SEPs ecosystem, while ensuring a fair balance is achieved between all entities involved, and the maximum benefit to UK innovation.”

In order to launch the call for views before the end of 2021 and give respondents sufficient time to respond, it will run for 12 weeks and close on 1 March at 23:45. The government will then assess and summarise the received responses it receives, which will be published and inform the government’s decision on any next steps and action that may be required. 

The launch of the call for views also honours a commitment set out in the UK government's innovation strategy, which seeks to boost British productivity and competitiveness through innovation-led growth, according to its four pillars of unleashing business, supporting people and skills, serving the needs of institutions and places and stimulating missions and technologies.

UK IPO launches call for views on Standard Essential Patents, innovation and competition UK IPO launches call for views on Standard Essential Patents, innovation and competition Reviewed by Sophie Corke on Tuesday, December 07, 2021 Rating: 5

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