Global Antitrust Economics #4 Standard-Essential Patents : How Should Courts Deal with SEPs ?

4ème Webinaire de la 6ème édition de la Conférence “Antitrust in Emerging and Developing Economies” organisé par Concurrences, en partenariat avec Axinn et Charles River Associates avec Jorge L. Contreras (Professor, The University of Utah), Kirti Gupta (Vice President - Technology & Economic Strategy, Qualcomm), John Harkrider (Partner, Axinn) and Mario Lopez (Vice President, Charles River Associates) et Lawrence White (Professor, Department of Economics, NYU Stern).

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Lawrence White moderated the discussion.

Kirti Gupta underlined that SEPs are potentially critical patents for the implementation of technology standards. Currently, the discussion of SEPs is primarily focused on wireless cellular standards. A particular interest is therefore focused on these technologies as they are by far the most successful ones that have been adopted as standard technology to date. Today, 5G technology is being developed to connect everything and everywhere, not just connecting people. These new technologies, otherwise known as Gs, are the result of risky R&D work and were then passed on to international standardization bodies. After conducting a study called "The Value of Cellular Technology", Kirti Gupta found that only in 2019 did cellular technologies generate more than $ 4,800 billion and the number of mobile subscriptions has tripled every five years over the past two decades. Specifically, technologies like 4G and 5G have been built within the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). It is noted that of the 800 companies attending, less than 10 of them contribute more than 80% of the technology. As already mentioned by Pierre Regibeau last June, we will be confronted with price wars on the most important asset of the knowledge economy. Indeed, FRAND disputes are essentially about price disputes between innovators and implementers ex-post, after the R&D has been committed, the technology has been developed and the standards have been established. Moreover, over the past 15 years, several decisions have resolved key FRAND SEP issues, such as Huawei v. ZTE in the CJEU or, Unwired Plant in the UK Supreme Court.

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  • Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider (New York)
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • University of Utah
  • CRA International (San Francisco)
  • Qualcomm (San Diego)