11 November 2022

Government releases the response to a call for views regarding standard essential patents

As many practitioners in the field will be aware, the rapid pace in the deployment and use of standardised wireless technologies, such as 3G, 4G and 5G cellular technologies, has seen wider interest in the use of standards and the licensing of patents essential to those standards – so called standards essential patents (SEPs).

In December last year, the UKIPO published a call for views on SEPs and innovation, in the context of challenges faced by industry. The UKIPO has recently published the response, in which six key themes were identified by respondents, namely:

  • the relationship between SEPs, innovation, and competition, and what actions or interventions would make the greatest improvements for consumers in the UK;
  • competition and market functioning;
  • transparency in the system;
  • patent infringement and remedies;
  • licensing of SEPs; and
  • SEP litigation.

The UK Government intends to use the evidence received to date, and to engage further with businesses, to determine what actions it takes next including whether any government intervention is required. It will be particularly interesting to note if the UK Government decides to take any active intervention in the SEP arena, particularly in view of the landmark Unwired Planet decision, which confirmed that English courts are suitable as forums for SEP disputes at a global level.

It is understood that any significant policy interventions will be subject to public consultation, and that further updates are expected in 2023.