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Antitrust complaints

over SEP licensing

Rafal Sikorski
Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
SEP Licensing – ensuring smooth licensing
◦ Antitrust / Competition Law

◦ Makam Delrahim (emphasizing hold-out / criticizing eBay / does not agree with hold-up)
◦ Responses to DOJ shifting its position on SEPs

◦ Contract Law / FRAND commitments

◦ Patent Law / Patent Remedies

◦ eBay & STRONGER Patents Act

◦ Tendencies in the EU
FRAND’s antitrust roots
• first half of 20th century – licensing agreements in oil,
glass, gypsum and other industries used as a cover for
anticompetitive practices /
• government action under the Sherman Act resulted
in court decrees aimed at ensuring access to such
crucial technologies /
• courts demanded access on reasonable and non-
discriminatory terms to technologies crucial for
FRAND origins market presence /

FRAND, standardization & SDO policies

• likely tension between standardization & proprietary
technologies recognized by ASA as early as the 1930’s
• ASA’s IPR Policy open to proprietary standards if
IPR holders agree to license on reasonable and non-
discriminatory terms /

J. Contreras, A Brief History of FRAND, 80 Antitrust Law Journal 39 (2015)

Protecting integrity of the standard setting
• ensuring access & standard dissemination
• addressing hold-up, hold-out, royalty-stacking

FRAND Addressing antitrust concerns

commitments • ensuring access to all interested market participants
• access on terms that would allow market participants
to compete
FRAND commitments & standardization in
late 20th century
• DOJ business review letters concerning DVD,
MPEG, 3G standards
licensing • 1) IEEE IPR policy as amended in 2015 /

all willing
• Ericsson v. D-Link (2013, E.D. Texas)

• Court accepted licensor’s choice / IEEE amended its policy

licensees • 2) ITU IPR Policy / Microsoft v. Motorola (2012, 9th Cir. )

• SDO’s policy required licensing all licensees / Court enforced this

vs. commitment

• 3) KFTC Qualcomm decisions’ 2009 and 2016

licensing • Requiring licensing competing chipset manufacturers by virtue of

antitrust laws

Harm to competition
◦ Major competitors exit markets /

◦ Market concentration index rises significantly /

◦ No market entry from new competitors /

◦ Rising monopoly power /

J. Contreras (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law. Competition, Antitrust and
Patents, Cambridge University Press 2018

J. Contreras, A Brief History of FRAND, 80 Antitrust Law Journal 39 (2015)

C. Biddle, J. Contreras, N. Siebrasse, Patent Remedies for Complex Products. Toward a Global Consensus,
Cambridge University Press 2019

R. Sikorski, Patent Law Injunctions, Wolters Kluwer 2019

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