Monday, July 9, 2012

UN agency ITU to hold high-level talks on standard-essential patent litigation in October

On Friday (July 6, 2012), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, announced that it "will host a high-level roundtable discussion between standards organizations, key industry players and government officials at ITU headquarters in Geneva, on 10 October 2012".

The ITU is well aware of what's going on in the industry and says that "[t]he ITU Patent Roundtable will address the worldwide surge in patent litigation and the growing lack of adherence to standards bodies' existing patent policies." The specific topics to be addressed "include potential improvements to existing policy frameworks, entitlement to injunctive reliefs, and definitions of what constitutes a royalty base". While I haven't said much so far about potential improvements to policy frameworks (since my focus has recently been almost entirely on litigation monitoring), the issues of injunctive relief over standard-essential patents and of an appropriate royalty base have come up here on numerous occasions. Five months ago I published an Apple letter to ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) and commented on the issues Apple raised inthat letter. They are pretty much the same ones that the ITU is going to discuss with stakeholders.

You can find the full text of the ITU's press release here. Below the announcement and the contact data of the ITU's press department, you can find a selection of quotes that the ITU provided to the press along with its announcement. I was proud to be asked to contribute one as well. The organizations quoted by the ITU are literally from all over the world.

The ITU has previously been mentioned on this blog in connection with the H.264 video codec standard, one of the standards at issue in ongoing FRAND patent litigation that Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility is pursuing in the United States and Germany. The FRAND pledge by Motorola that is at issue in those H.264 disputes was actually made to the ITU.

The BBC, Computerworld and the IDG News Service, and many other media, have already reported on this ITU initiative. In addition, I wanted to promote it here because I count many industry stakeholders among my esteemed readers.

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