There has been a surge of interest lately in commitments to license patents on terms that are “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND). The patents at issue in these cases often cover industry standards that were developed in collaborative trade associations known as standards-development organizations (SDOs). But while the principal focus of litigants and regulators in recent years has been on patent commitments made within SDOs, parties have increasingly made voluntary public patent statements and commitments in less formal settings. Such statements and commitments can take the form of covenants not to sue, promises to license on royalty-free or FRAND terms, or clarifications of previous commitments that have been made.
As a service to the standards research community, the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at American University’s Washington College of Law has established a new public web resource listing and describing non-SDO patent commitments. The site, which was launched this week, already includes 62 different non-SDO patent statements and commitments covering thousands of patents. We hope to continue to add information to the site, and invite the submission of additional non-SDO patent statements and commitments by the public. In order to preserve a record of these commitments, given the ephemeral nature of individual web sites, we have also created PDF versions of every statement and commitment that is listed, and will do our best to create a permanent record of any modifications. Please let us know if you believe that a public patent statement or commitment has been altered, amended or retracted.
A longer version of this piece was posted on the Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog under the title Non-SSO Patent Commitments and Pledges Symposium: Jorge Contreras Comments. It is available here.