Sie sind auf Seite 1von 2


19, 2014

Dr. Roberto Boisson de Marca
President and CEO
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Dear President de Marca and Members of the IEEE Board,

I write to you today to express my great concern about proposed changes to the patent policy of the
IEEE-SA, and the process by which those changes have been proposed. I believe that both the
proposed changes and the process that has been followed threaten the reputation and future of IEEE
as a developer of advanced technology standards. I do not send this letter lightly. As a long-time
member of the IEEE and the recipient of its 2013 Medal of Honor, for fundamental contributions to
digital communications and wireless technology, I care too much about the IEEE and the importance
of its work to stay silent about this issue.

I believe in the importance of the patent system in enabling and incentivizing companies to invest in
R&D, and contribute the resulting technology to voluntary, consensus-based standards bodies.
Fundamental to such incentives is the knowledge that contributing companies will be fairly rewarded
for their extremely risky and costly research investments. The proposed drastic changes to the IEEE-
SA patent policy that have come to my attention will undermine these incentives, and greatly hinder
continued development of advanced technology standards at IEEE.

The proposed changes are apparently intended to provide short term commercial benefits to its
proponents, who are manufacturers of standards-compliant products, by lowering the compensation
to the innovative companies that contribute the technology underpinning the standard. But the long
term impact of this proposal would be the devaluation of patents, thus diminishing the incentives to
do research and development directed at contributing advanced technology to IEEE standards. Those
who have contributed their best and most valuable technologies to IEEE standards will not continue
to do so if their technologies become less valuable as a result of their contribution to a standard.
Moreover, I am concerned that the proposed changes to the patent policy have been pushed
through despite the absence of any evidence of actual real-world problems with the existing patent
policy. Indeed, all available evidence indicates that the current patent policy is working rather well,
encouraging both development and implementation of advanced technology standards to the
benefit of consumers. I understand that courts have in fact found a balance in enforcing IEEE-SA's
current patent policy and protecting the interests of manufacturers of standards-compliant products
who believed they were being treated unfairly by owners of patents essential to IEEE standards.
Furthermore, I understand that there is no legal or regulatory requirement on IEEE to make these

As noted above, the process by which the proposed changes to the patent policy have arisen within
IEEE-SA also threatens the IEEE's reputation for integrity. I understand that the proposed changes
were created by a closed ad-hoc group that consistently rejected the repeated and detailed
objections, alternative suggestions, letters of complaint, and appeals of some thirteen respected
global technology companies. That process is not consistent with the IEEE-SA's core values of
openness, due process, collaboration with all interested stakeholders, and consensus-based
decision-making. Such failure to follow the IEEE-SA's core values should be alarming to all
stakeholders in IEEE who wish to see the IEEE continue to attract the best innovations and foster the

development of new and advanced technology standards, since it is those core values that are the
hallmark of IEEE's reputation and success.
As a faithful supporter of the IEEE, I strongly urge members of the IEEE Board to carefully reconsider
whether there is any proven need to change the IEEE-SA patent policy used for IEEE standards, and if
so, to require that any proposed changes be developed in an open and collaborative manner,
respecting the importance of incentives to innovate, and only with the support of a broad consensus
among all interested stakeholders, as expressed by the core values of the IEEE standards process.

Sincerely yours,


Founding Chairman and
CEO Emeritus

IEEE Fellow
Recipient, IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, 1995
Recipient, IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award, 2007
Recipient, IEEE Medal of Honor, 2013