Feeds

US mulls outlawing rival product bans using standards patents

Congress probes essential designs used to win injunctions

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The US Congress is holding a hearing today to consider whether companies that own standards-essential patents (SEP) should be allowed to use them to get sales and import bans on their rivals' products.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting to hear from the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice on whether firms can wield SEP over their rivals in patent battles, an issue which could have a big impact on firms like Samsung and Motorola Mobility.

Firms like Microsoft and Apple have been whinging to lawmakers about the use of SEP in patent litigation, as Microsoft faces a ban on its Xbox 360 from an essential patent for video brought by Motorola Mobility and Apple's many lawsuits face counter suits over SEP from the likes of Samsung.

The committee will be hearing about the antitrust implications of granting sales bans based on SEP and its witness list includes FTC commissioner Edith Ramirez and acting assistant AG of the DoJ Joseph Wayland.

The FTC has already made its position clear by filing the case of Motorola v Microsoft with the International Trade Commission, which has the power to impose the bans, while urging the ITC not to issue an injunction.

The FTC said it was concerned that companies were trying to use the threat of a sales ban to force others who wanted to use the standard to pay higher royalty fees. That would of course be directly against the point of SEP, which is supposed to be licensed on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis so that everyone's kit can be interoperable and on the same standard.

"Incorporating patented technologies into standards has the potential to distort competition by enabling SEP owners to negotiate high royalty rates and other favourable terms, after a standard is adopted, that they could not credibly demand beforehand," the FTC said in its filing.

Meanwhile, the UN's telecommunications arm, the ITU, is holding a roundtable on the issue in October.

SEP owners like Motorola have argued that the bans are a necessary threat for firms that refuse to pay licensing fees.

If rules against using SEP to get sales bans were introduced, it could have a big impact on the Apple v Android manufacturer cases, as many of these are from the old guard of mobile firms and rely on SEP to fight back.

However, even if bans aren't allowed, SEP owners could still use legal means to prove infringement, which could win them damages and/or force the infringing firm to pay royalties. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV
And insists on $5 million insurance per motor against accidents
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.