'Umbrella' Standards Bodies: Framing Their IPR Policies
5 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2012 Last revised: 13 Jul 2014
Date Written: November 2, 2012
The recent launch of a number of umbrella standards groups provides an opportunity to consider how they address intellectual property rights associated with their activities. Umbrella standards groups bring together standards development organisations (SDOs) and others to address standards challenges that cut across the work of established SDOs and territories.
This paper considers three umbrella groups. One characteristic of umbrella standards groups is that they generally disclaim any development of standards. Rather they review and comment on the standards developed by participating SDOs; they identify and often resolve conflicts between standards; they propose gap fillers where a technical issue is not addressed.
Because of their composite nature, umbrella standards group present unique issues relating to the IPR policy applicable to their activities. This paper examines the twin IPR challenges for the umbrella standards group: First, it disclaims any work to develop its own standards, but it could well have other deliverables whose mandatory nature could have standards-like qualities. What IPR policy should it have to cover these deliverables? Second, the contributions to its work come from a number of independent SDOs each with its own IPR policy. What kind of recognition should the umbrella group give to these policies?
This paper examines in turn the IPR policies adopted by FOBTV, oneM2M and SGIP. It deals with SGIP’s work at some length and concludes that its approach in addressing these challenges – fostering disclosure of the IPR policies of authoring SDOs, and working out a well-considered IPR policy for its own deliverables – could serve as a model for other umbrella standards bodies.
Keywords: standards development organisation, SDO, IPR, patents, umbrella standards body, antitrust, competition, licensing, technology, FOBTV, DVB, SGIP, oneM2M, M2M, Smart Grid, digital broadcasting
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