The New Standards: the Commission's latest guidance on SEPs

New material published by the European Commission reveals a desire to promote efficiency and balance in SEP licensing, but also a reticence to overhaul the rules.

The European Commission today, 30 November 2017, published a Fact Sheet on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement and a Communication setting out the EU’s approach to Standard Essential Patents (SEPs).

In recognition of what it perceives as the strategic importance of SEPs and Europe’s need to grasp the enormous potential of 5G and the Internet of Things, the Commission has presented its views on how to improve the SEP licensing framework to help build a “sustainable, balanced and efficient standardisation ecosystem” for businesses. In practice, the measures it has published fall short of firm directive action. However, they do provide a useful insight into the Commission’s thinking on this subject, while leaving the door open to more prescriptive guidance and legislation at a later date if the Commission deems this necessary.

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