University of Colorado
Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Standard-Setting Issues, Project No. P111204
The issue of IPR in standards is more significant in standards that define communications interfaces (compatibility standards). IPR in compatibility standards becomes a burden on all uses of the communications system. As example, when a new battery technology is patented users (or their surrogates, OEMs) can decide to purchase the new technology based on the cost and the advantages it offers. However, when a required function of a wireless air interface standard is patented all users who wish to communicate pay for the IPR on the wireless air interface compatibility standard. They have no choice. Patents that define similarity have a long history of incentivizing inventors. E.g., drug company patents very often address similar products not interfaces. Patents that control interfaces have a shorter history with considerable abuse. The IPR problems with compatibility standards were masked until 1984 and the breakup of AT&T, as AT&T licensed its patents royalty free for use in public standards. Understandard the subtle but significant difference between similarity standards and compatibility standards is basic to understanding IPR associated with standards issues. See: The Entrepreneur and Standards at http://www.csrstds.com/IECChallenge2006.pdffor more background and detail on this issue (2006). Please also see: Communications Standards and Patent Rights: Conflict or Coordination (2005) at http://www.csrstds.com/star.html for further discussion directly related to this FCC workshop.