TILEC conference on: Patent pools 2.0: Modernizing collective licensing mechanisms in the IoT context
26 April 2019, Brussels
Purpose of the conference
Patent pools can be a source of efficiencies when they comprise patents protecting complementary technologies. While patent pools have been successful in several areas, attempts to create patent pools have failed with respect to mobile communication standards, such as 3G and 4G, where the main SEP holders have stayed away from the pool and engaged in bilateral negotiations. This had led to significant litigation. Bilateral negotiations are hard to envisage in the IoT context where thousands of companies, large and smalls, while have to implement mobile communication standards. In that context, patent pools and other forms of collective licensing mechanisms may be an attractive alternative. Patent pools have, however, often been criticized for their aggressive licensing tactics, and some of them seem to suffer from significant design flaws. If reliance on patent pools is the right way forward in the IoT context, it is important to make sure that they are correctly designed and managed. Against that background, the purpose of the conference is to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of patent pools, the regulatory framework under which they operate, the challenges they face and the ways in which they should operate to provide an attractive alternative to bilateral licensing in the IoT era.