The Department of Justice's Long-Awaited and Much Needed Course-Correction on FRAND-Assured Standard-Essential Patents

Competition Policy International, Forthcoming

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 17-47

9 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017 Last revised: 11 Dec 2017

See all articles by Douglas H. Ginsburg

Douglas H. Ginsburg

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Koren Wong-Ervin

Director of IP & Competition Policy at Qualcomm Incorporated and Senior Expert at China's University of International Business & Economics (formerly at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission)

Date Written: November 18, 2017

Abstract

On November 10, 2017, the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, Makan Delrahim, announced a crucial course-correction for policies involving standard-essential patents (SEPs) that a patent holder has voluntarily committed to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. This short article touches on the central policy implications of the AAG’s remarks, namely: (1) the cabining of the Division’s 2015 Business Review Letter (BRL) to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on the amendments to its IPR policy; (2) the strong message both at home and abroad that U.S. antitrust law generally does not reach the seeking or enforcing of injunctive relief or breach of a FRAND commitment; and (3) the shift in enforcement priorities from concerns about unilateral holdup by patent holders to collective holdout by implementers.

Keywords: DOJ, Antitrust, Standard-Essential Patents, SEPs, FRAND, IEEE, SDO, SSO, International

JEL Classification: K21, L40

Suggested Citation

Ginsburg, Douglas H. and Wong-Ervin, Koren, The Department of Justice's Long-Awaited and Much Needed Course-Correction on FRAND-Assured Standard-Essential Patents (November 18, 2017). Competition Policy International, Forthcoming; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 17-47. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3073635

Douglas H. Ginsburg

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ( email )

333 Constitution Ave NW
Room 5523
Washington, DC 20001
United States

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Koren Wong-Ervin (Contact Author)

Director of IP & Competition Policy at Qualcomm Incorporated and Senior Expert at China's University of International Business & Economics (formerly at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission) ( email )

1730 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.
Suite 850
Washington DC, DC 20006-1850
United States

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