Thursday, May 23, 2013

Four Senators write to the ITC, raise SEP issues with a view to Samsung-Apple decision

When I reported yesterday on a May 10 letter from a bipartisan group of United States Representatives to the ITC concerning injunctive relief over FRAND-pledged standard-essential patents (SEPs) in connection with the investigation of Samsung's complaint against Apple, I had not yet seen a similar letter written by four United States Senators. There can be considerable delay between the sending of such letters and their appearance on the ITC's electronic document system. Today I saw on my Twitter feed this press release by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) on a May 21 letter to the ITC, in which Senator Lee and three of his colleagues (in total, two senators from either side of the aisle) reinforce concerns six senators (five Republicans and one Democrat) had raised about a year ago.

These are Senator Lee's co-signatories:

Here's the Senators' May 21, 2013 letter (this post continues below the document):

ITC Letter on Standard Essential Patents by Senator Mike Lee

The letter seeks to dissuade the ITC from deciding in any way "that would enable or encourage companies to include their patented technology in a standard, commit to license included patents on FRAND terms, and then seek to secure an exclusion order despite a breach of that commitment". This position on injunctive relief being unavailable in light of a FRAND licensing commitment is consistent with Judge Posner's Apple v. Motorola ruling and the positions of various industry players and groups.

The ITC's Samsung-Apple decision, scheduled for May 31 and very likely to address SEP issues, will be read by a lot of influential people, not only but also on Capitol Hill.

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