Fostering by Standards Bodies of the Formation of Patent Pools

26 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2018

Date Written: December 5, 2018


This article presents the experience of standards development organisations, notably the DVB Project, in fostering the formation of patent pools covering patents essential to their standards. Based on this and related activities with the IEEE, the article sets out frameworks for SDO pooling efforts:

• Pool fostering: fostering of pool formation, immediately following standardisation, for hand-off to a commercial facilitator chosen by patent holders; use of other tools to promote success of pool;

• Gateway technologies: more complete facilitation of pool to resolve competitive issues in key technologies, including assistance to patent holders to set licensing terms, drafting of licensing documentation, providing forum for holders and other stakeholders to discuss license terms, in two cases for handoff to ETSI as neutral licensing administrator;

• Streamlining: to assist in the marketability of otherwise “orphan” standards, provision by the standards body of a streamlined mechanism for pool formation and administration, through less cumbersome formation procedures, standard-form documentation and more efficient royalty collection and distribution; and

• SDO as administrator: facilitation and administration by a standards body of pools covering its standards, as part of life-cycle services offered by the SDO and to generate revenues.

This review is timely because of the recent interest in pooling shown by regulatory authorities, as evidenced for example in the Communication of the European Commission on the EU’s approach to standard essential patents (European Commission 2017). In addition the frameworks proposed in this article can be a starting point for standards bodies as they consider their own approach to facilitate and to administer licensing programmes covering their own standards.

Keywords: standards, standards development organisation, SDO, SSO, DVB, IEEE, ETSI, patents, licensing, standard-essential patent, SEP, patent pool, licensing program, MPEG, MPEG LA, Sisvel

JEL Classification: L44, L63, L86, O34

Suggested Citation

Eltzroth, Carter, Fostering by Standards Bodies of the Formation of Patent Pools (December 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Carter Eltzroth (Contact Author) ( email )

PO Box 25801
Washington, DC 20027
United States

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