Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Press release: IoT Innovators send strong message in support for reform of Germany's outdated 'automatic injunctions' law (ACT | The App Association)

On special occasions I publish entire press releases by industry bodies. Yesterday, ACT | The App Association organized a workshop that was interesting enough for me to return to Berlin after more than 13 years. The quality of the content clearly exceeded my expectations, and I'll talk about it in more detail after the official report comes out next Monday. As for the German patent reform process that the press release below mentions, things aren't looking good: Juve Patent says the upcoming bill "will likely disappoint many experts and not include the major changes to the automatic injunction that have been called for by the German automotive and telecommunications industries." But after the German federal government puts its proposal on the table, those advocating a more balanced approach may finally wake up--so far their efforts to bring about change have been far too limited and uninspiring to prevail over the stiff resistance mounted by the judiciary, government officials, some pharmaceutical and chemical companies, and patent monetization-focused organizations like Siemens.

Yesterday's event was largely focused on SEPs, but some of the best parts of the discussion went beyond and addressed injunctive relief over non-SEPs.


IoT Innovators send strong message in support for reform of Germany's outdated 'automatic injunctions' law

Berlin, October 1st 2019 – Companies at the forefront of the Internet of Things (IoT) met with policymakers, academics and patent lawyers in Berlin on Monday to support much needed reforms to the rules governing the licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs), underway in Germany at the moment.

The half-day workshop entitled: German Leadership in Standard Essential Patents & FRAND Licensing, included executives from several industries involved in the development of IoT technologies, including the auto and auto parts sectors.

Discussion focused on two core areas in the SEP legal and policy space: proportionality in how courts resolve patent disputes through injunctions and alternative remedies, and discrimination against willing licensees. Both topics are being examined by German policymakers and in German courts, by European Commission antitrust officials, and by other policymakers and courts around the world.

"As the world accelerates towards realizing 5G technology, technical standards will increasingly underlie the development of a seamless internet-connected world commonly termed the IoT," said Brian Scarpelli, Senior Global Policy Counsel for ACT | The App Association, which hosted the event.

Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse and by far its leading member state in terms of the number of patents filed, will play a pivotal role in steering Europe's SEP licensing landscape, Mr Scarpelli said.

"There is growing consensus that in order to prevent SEP holders from holding up the roll-out of IoT innovations, Germany must improve its patent system. We strongly endorse such reform," he said.

"Germany has a golden opportunity to re-shape the law to better suit the 5G/IoT era and to position it and the EU as a policy leader. Steps should be taken to preserve proportionality in remedies and transparency in SEP licensing negotiations for all parties," he added.

The App Association co-founded an effort to develop SEP licensing best practices, which resulted in their release in June. These best practices are designed to help licensors and licensees negotiate licenses that honour the Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) principles that underpin SEPs. The guidelines, called: CEN-CENELEC Workshop Agreement 95000 "Core Principles and Approaches to Licensing Standard Essential Patents", were presented at the meeting in Berlin.

As a next step, the App Association will be publicly issuing a rapporteur's report on Monday's meeting, summarizing key discussion points and making recommendations on next steps to advance innovation and fairness in SEP licensing policy and law.

The App Association represents over 5,000 SMEs located around the world, including many firms working on the frontline of IoT development. More information is available at www.actonline.org.


For follow-up questions please contact Paul Meller, in charge of App Association communications in Europe: +32 497 3322966

About the App Association: ACT | The App Association represents more than 5,000 app makers and connected device companies in the mobile economy. Organization members leverage the connectivity of smart devices to create innovative solutions that make our lives better. ACT | The App Association is the leading industry resource on market strategy, regulated industries, privacy, and security.

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