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From Private Ordering to Public Law: The Legal Frameworks Governing Standards-Essential Patents

21 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2017  

Jorge L. Contreras

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: January 28, 2017

Abstract

Technical standard setting, though conducted largely through private organizations, possesses many attributes of a public function. By and large, SDO policies operate effectively to enable competitors to collaborate to develop standards that produce network effects and yield significant social welfare gains. At times, however, internal policing and enforcement mechanisms may not be sufficient to curb abusive behavior by SDO participants, particularly behavior that tends to diminish the value of patent-related commitments made by participants. In these cases, the intervention of public law principles may be appropriate. But while public law regimes such as antitrust and competition law may offer effective means for addressing the most egregious abuses of these commitments, it may be preferable for public agencies to promote legal measures assuring the enforceability of these private commitments on their own terms. Legal support for the enforcement such commitments, and the avoidance of new legal duties, should result in more adaptable and predictable mechanisms for ensuring the continued effective operation of private standardization systems, while the public character of standard setting should continue to be recognized when applicable legal rules call for consideration of the public interest.

Keywords: Standards, Patent, FRAND, SDO, SSO

JEL Classification: K00, K12, K21, L63, L96, O34

Suggested Citation

Contreras, Jorge L., From Private Ordering to Public Law: The Legal Frameworks Governing Standards-Essential Patents (January 28, 2017). Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 30, p. 211, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2907472

Jorge L. Contreras (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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