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Telcos united on anti-patent laws

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Vodafone, Orange, T-mobile and other big telcos are joining up to tell Europe's main standards body to tighten up its rules on intellectual property.

The telcos will tell the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, the body behind the GSM standard, that current rules leave companies at risk of "excessive" demands for royalty payments. The group warns that the benefits of standardisation are at risk unless rules are changed.

The European Commission has already asked ETSI to sort out rules to stop members carrying out a "patent ambush" - where one company gets its technology sneakily included in a standard before sending out large invoices to companies forced to use its technology.

Mobile handset makers complained last month that Qualcomm used its 3G patents in this way.

The group wants ETSI to set a cap on maximum royalty payments because failure.

Vodafone refused to comment on this story and Orange and T-mobile were unable to comment at press time.®

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