DOJ seeks public comment on new draft policy statement

The Department of Justice recently announced that it is requesting public comment on a new draft policy statement concerning standards-essential patents (SEPs) that seeks to promote good-faith licensing negotiations and addresses the scope of remedies available to patent owners that have agreed to license their essential technologies on reasonable and non-discriminatory or fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (F/RAND) terms. 

The Justice Department worked with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in responding to President Biden’s recent Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which encouraged the agencies to review the 2019 Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments to ensure that it adequately promoted competition. Together the agencies, after consulting with the Federal Trade Commission, are now issuing a revised draft statement for public comment.

“The department looks forward to working with our agency partners,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “We are committed to taking a principled, transparent, and balanced approach at the intersection of intellectual property and antitrust law.”

The draft statement is open to public comment for 30 days and provides a framework to facilitate good-faith licensing negotiation between SEP owners and potential licensees. It also discusses what remedies may be available when SEPs subject to voluntary F/RAND commitments are infringed. The draft statement indicates that good-faith negotiation that leads to widespread and efficient licensing between SEP holders and those who seek to implement standardized technologies can help to promote technology innovation, further consumer choice, and enable industry competitiveness. The draft statement will not be finalized until the agencies consider all stakeholder input.


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