The United States and the European Union have long been leading developers of critical technological standards, and there is broad recognition that technological leadership matters not only for innovation but also national security. The Strategic Technologies Program at CSIS hosted a roundtable on June 27 to discuss the European Commission’s latest proposed reform for standard essential patents (SEPs) with experts, officials, and members of the business community. The EU proposal has sparked fresh conversations about regulation strategies and the future of technological innovation. The roundtable addressed the current state of SEP regulations, the proposal’s suggested changes to the patent regulation process, and potential complications that might arise from these suggested changes.
Why SEPs Are Important
Standard essential patents are critical to technological innovation. Standards, such as 5G, LTE, and Wi-Fi, are bedrock technologies that serve as a basis for product development and interoperability. When a company files for a patent, they are establishing a baseline technology for other companies to build on. The company must prove that their patent represents an “essential” technology for further development. Once a patent is obtained, the SEP holder will license the technology to different companies in exchange for royalties. Read more