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Standard Essential Patents

Standard Essential Patents:

There is a concern over the manner in which certain technology companies are wielding ‘standard essential patents’ (SEP) against the telecom manufacturing sector in India.

  • Standard Essential Patent (SEP) is a patent granted for a technological invention which is essential for the implementation and working of a standard.
  • Patents which are essential to a standard and have been adopted by a Standard Setting Organization (SSO) are known as SEPs.
  • SSOs are either governmental, quasi governmental, or a private group of independently governed industry associations.
  • SSOs set, develop, coordinate, interpret and maintain standards.
  • Industry participants can collaborate on a single technical solution because of such standards.
  • When a patent is acknowledged by the SSO and designated as a SEP, manufacturers can only produce their goods in the market after first acquiring a license under the SEP.
  • From an antitrust standpoint, the lack of any competing technology grants the SEP holder a monopolistic right over the SEP.
  • It is impossible to produce products that comply with standards without using technologies that are covered by one or more SEPs.
  • SEPs are common in the mobile telephony and telecommunications industry, a sector which is highly standardised due mainly to the need for interoperability between mobile devices.