FRAND Licensing Levels under EU Law

48 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2020 Last revised: 20 Feb 2020

See all articles by Jean-Sébastien Borghetti

Jean-Sébastien Borghetti

Université Paris 2 Panthéon Assas

Igor Nikolic

University College London

Nicolas Petit

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW)

Date Written: February 5, 2020

Abstract

This paper investigates whether EU or national law provide legal authority to impose a direct or indirect obligation on Standard Essential Patent (“SEP”) holders to license at all levels of the value chain, including at component level (“license to all”, hereafter LTA). Extensive analysis of EU text and case-law (general principles of EU law, patent, contract and competition laws) suggests that there are only very limited doctrinal grounds to impose an LTA obligation on SEP holders that made a FRAND commitment. Similarly, French contract law – which applies to FRAND-committed SEP before the European standard setting organisation ETSI – does not give rise to a legal basis for the introduction of a ‘license to all’ regime. In the rare cases where licensing obligations might be imposed on SEP holders, these would effectively be akin to compulsory licensing, where public policy calls for restraint.

Keywords: FRAND, SEPs, Internet of Things, value chain licensing

JEL Classification: K10, K12, K20, K21

Suggested Citation

Borghetti, Jean-Sébastien and Nikolic, Igor and Petit, Nicolas, FRAND Licensing Levels under EU Law (February 5, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3532469 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3532469

Jean-Sébastien Borghetti

Université Paris 2 Panthéon Assas ( email )

Paris
France

Igor Nikolic (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Nicolas Petit

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
ITALY

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