Smartphone Patent Wars: Legal & Policy Issues of Standard Essential Patens in ICT Industry

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  • 1. Smartphone Patent Wars: Legal & Policy Issues of Standard Essential Patens in ICT Industry by Alex Lee1 As represented by “Smartphone Patent Wars,” patents for smartphones became the most important strategic competition tool among market leaders. Especially, patents for mobile communication standards, which are the so-called „Standard Essential Patents (SEPs),‟ became the center of legal and policy debates regarding their intellectual property rights (IPRs). The author provides the implications of recent courts‟ resolutions regarding FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Non Discriminatory) disputes to the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) industry and provide several alternative options for resolving FRAND disputes. The author contends that the current concerted resolutions in courts and regulation agencies can results in adverse effects to the ICT industry. The author also contends the main drawback of the recent proposals to resolve the disputes surrounding SEPs through the ex ante FRAND licensing and the ICT industry players‟ voluntary collaboration. From the analysis of ICT industry players‟ response to the outcomes of court resolutions, the author contends a compromising way to provide FRAND Royalty adopting arguments from both sides of the disputes. The author also contends a practical improvement to the voluntary collaboration proposals to resolve the disputes surrounding SEPs. 1 Alex (Geunho) Lee, Ph.D., earned his J.D. from the Suffolk University Law School. He thanks to Professor Christopher Gibson for directing this thesis paper. He also thanks to Professor Michael L. Rustad, Ms. Hee-Eun Kim, Mr. Larry M. Goldstein and Professor Stephen Y. Chow for valuable comments.
  • 2. Table of Contents I. Introduction II. A Holistic Review of Current Issues in FRAND Disputes A. Interpretation of FRAND Commitments B. Determination of FRAND Royalty C. Antitrust Issue III. Implications for ICT Industry A. Response of ICT Industry to the Courts‟ Resolutions B. Potential Adverse Effects of Courts‟ Resolutions C. Alternative Methods to Resolve FRAND Disputes IV. Recommendations A. FRAND Royalty and Injunctive Relief B. Alternative Methods for FRAND Licensing V. Conclusion If you are interested in reading my thesis paper and providing me comments for improving it as a journal publication, please let me know. Thank you. ... Alex Lee (alexglee@techipm.com)