Thursday, October 5, 2017

Japanese government asks for suggestions on guidelines for SEP license negotiation

On September 29, the Japanese government started discussing issues involved in licensing of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) in accordance with Intellectual Property Strategic Program 2017 which was published in May 2017. The Intellectual Property Strategic Plan 2017 includes an examination of ADR system which is expected to  determine appropriate license fee on SEPs, considering SEPs becoming highly influential along with popularization of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies.

At the meeting on September 29, three economic groups - i.e. Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), Japan Business Federation, and Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA) - made presentations on the issues on SEP licensing, which covered;

  • Problems of 'holdup' (i.e. forcing to pay excessive licensing fee) and 'holdout' (i.e. free-riding patents). The holdout problem is prevalent, the presenter answered to a question.
  • Approaches to SEP injunctions taken in the US and EU. Panasonic is introduced as a supporter of the safe harbor approach.
  • Suggestion of different approaches between good faith and bad faith parties; i.e. for good faith parties, negotiations by the parties should be respected, while, against bad parties (e.g. NPE), some sort of a quick, binding, and transparent solution system should be prepared.
  • NPE problem. The presenter gave an answer that it is not a serious problem in Japan as of today, but Japanese companies concern about future possibility.

Finally, the JPO explained about guidelines for SEP license negotiation which is scheduled for publication next year. It covers licensing negotiation method, reasonable royalty levels, and the like. The tentative outline of guidelines is below.

Under criticism of lack of expertise in licensing, the JPO wants to develop a world-class guidelines, thus it decided to ask for suggestions from home and abroad. The deadline of submission of your suggestions is November 10 2017. If you are willing to contribute, please see here for details.

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