Developing a Framework for Arbitrating Standards-Essential Patent Disputes
29 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2013 Last revised: 27 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 3, 2014
A growing chorus of voices is calling for the use of arbitration to resolve disputes concerning standards-essential patents (SEPs). Those advocating the arbitration of SEP-related disputes include academic commentators, government officials and members of the professional bar. Most cite the potential savings of cost and time that arbitration could achieve over the multi-year, resource-intensive lawsuits that currently characterize these disputes. But despite these ringing endorsements, there is surprisingly little guidance available for parties, standards-development organizations (SDOs), and tribunals that wish to implement effective arbitration procedures for these complex disputes.
In this article, we lay the groundwork for the development of such procedures and identify several key areas in which further study and deliberation will be required. We pay particular attention to fundamental questions such as whether SEP arbitration should be mandated by SDOs, which issues should be arbitrated, whether arbitral decisions should be confidential, and what form arbitration proceedings should take. While, at this early stage, we do not purport to answer these difficult questions in a definitive manner, we offer a framework for further discussion that we hope will be useful for policy makers, industry participants and commentators considering these important issues.
Keywords: standards, patent, interoperability, arbitration, ADR, mediation, FTC, Google, FRAND, RAND
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