License to All or Access to All? A Law and Economics Assessment of Standard Development Organizations’ Licensing Rules

52 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2020

See all articles by Anne Layne-Farrar

Anne Layne-Farrar

Charles River Associates; Northwestern University

Richard Stark

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Date Written: May 18, 2020

Abstract

In the continuing debate over licensing standard essential patents (SEPs) with FRAND commitments (to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms and conditions), one of the most heated topics is whether FRAND commitments should be interpreted to require licensing all comers, or whether access to standards can be achieved through other, less rigid means. This article evaluates both the legal and the economic arguments underlying this debate. This article concludes that neither the law nor economic welfare justifies a “license to all” interpretation of FRAND commitments. To the contrary, such a regime is not supported by patent, contract or antitrust law, and likely would be harmful to social welfare.

Keywords: SEP, FRAND, Patent, License, Antitrust, Standard Essential Patent

JEL Classification: K

Suggested Citation

Layne-Farrar, Anne and Stark, Richard, License to All or Access to All? A Law and Economics Assessment of Standard Development Organizations’ Licensing Rules (May 18, 2020). George Washington Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3612954 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3612954

Anne Layne-Farrar

Charles River Associates ( email )

1 South Wacker Drive
Suite 3400
Chicago, IL 60606
United States
312-377-9238 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.crai.com

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Richard Stark (Contact Author)

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP ( email )

825 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10019
United States

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