The Department of Justice's Long-Awaited and Much Needed Course-Correction on FRAND-Assured Standard-Essential Patents
Competition Policy International, Forthcoming
9 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017 Last revised: 11 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 18, 2017
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: Suggested Citation