Standards-Essential Patents and FRAND Licensing


Principle investigator:  Jorge Contreras

Technical interoperability standards are ubiquitous in the modern information infrastructure.  Most of these standards are developed within voluntary consensus standards organizations (SDOs) that are open to broad industrial, academic and governmental participation.  When private actors obtain patents covering standardized technology, they can exert significant pressure on markets for standardized products.  Thus, many SDOs require their participants do disclose patents covering standards prior to adoption or finalization and/or require participants to license such patents on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms. Needless to say, defining FRAND has not been easy, and the meaning of FRAND is at the core of much of the patent litigation that is currently sweeping the smart phone industry.

The results are being watched closely by regulatory and enforcement agencies across the world, and will likely have a major impact on the future of this and other industries.  We are at the forefront of analyzing the legal ramifications of these practices and the impact of patents on technical standardization.

Publications and Resources

PIJIP Table of Non-SDO Patent Statements and Commitments

Jorge Contreras. Comment to Federal Trade Commission on Patent Assertion Entities. (Project No. P131203). December 15, 2013.

Jorge Contreras.  Patent Pledges. October 31, 2013.

Jorge Contreras. Fixing FRAND:  A Pseudo-Pool Approach to Standards-Based Patent Licensing. Antitrust Law Journal, Fall 2013.

Jorge Contreras. Standards, Patents, and the National Smart Grid. Pace Law Review Vol. 32 no.642. September 26, 2013. 

Jorge Contreras. Developing a Framework to Improve Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (Response to NIST Request for Information Docket No. 130208119-3119-01). April 18, 2013.

Jorge Contreras. Technical Standards and Ex Ante Disclosure: Results and Analysis of an Empirical Study. Jurimetrics, Vol. 53, No. 1, April 12, 2013.

Microsoft v. Motorola: Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Submission of 19 Economics and Law Professors to the International Trade Commission: RAND Patents and Exclusion Orders

Apple v. Motorola: Opinion by Judge Posner, June 22, 2012

Jorge Contreras. Implementing Procedural Safeguards for the Development of Bioinformatics Interoperability Standards. Northern Kentucky Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 2, 2012.

Fixing FRAND: Rationalizing the Basis for “Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory” Licensing of Standards-Essential Patents

Equity, Antitrust, and the Reemergence of the Patent Unenforceability Remedy. The Antitrust Source, Jorge Contreras, 2011

An Empirical Study of the Effects of Ex Ante Licensing Disclosure Policies on the Development of Voluntary Technical Standards. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Jorge Contreras, 2011.

Standards Development Patent Policy Manual.ABA, Jorge Contreras, 2007