SBS trains SMEs on IPR-based standardisation

Standardisation is a way to make available new technologies and services, disclose and share innovation, where different companies can implement and contribute to an ecosystem. This is by definition an open and collaborative environment, as opposed to proprietary solutions developed by companies on their own. As such, standardisation is way to make technology accessible by all at a fair price. Therefore, standards are a great opportunity for SMEs to innovate and access new markets and a great chance for society to benefit from a high pace innovation at good prices.

The success of standardisation depends on willingness of the parties to disclose and share their proprietary solutions. Thus, it is fundamental that the right balances are found in order to encourage all parties to invest in standardisation and implement the standardised technologies.

The treatment of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in standardisation is therefore an important component that needs to ensure that innovative technologies are openly disclosed in standards and are usable by the standards implementers, while providing the right incentives for companies that develop standards to share their innovations.

In this context, SBS organised a workshop on 29 June to inform and raise awareness about the high strategic importance of IPR for the European economy. Different perspectives were offered by the invited speakers on this topic.



Anne von Zukowski shared the European Commission´s considerations in view of the upcoming Communication related to Standards Essential Patents. With a view of achieving a balanced framework the Commission is focusing on key elements identified by many stakeholders, such as a transparent environment for negotiations between SEP holders and potential licensees, common valuation principles for SEPs and easier enforcement.

Christian Loyau, Legal Director at ETSI, provided legal considerations related to technical content of standards falling within the scope of an IPR. He also explained the duties of Members, Technical Body Chairmen and the ETSI Secretariat with respect to IPRs and offered concrete examples on how IPRs are dealt during standardisation activities within ETSI Technical Bodies.

Gerard Owens, from the European Patents Office, presented some of the “best practices” in patents and standards, including the deep knowledge of patent law but also of IPR policies that allow patent rights to be licensed to all parties on Royalty-free or FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory) terms.

Finally, Spiro Dhapi presented the CEN and CENELEC Patent policy referring to the collaborative approach in standards development. Moreover, he offered an overview of the principles of CEN-CENELEC Guide 8 on Implementation of the Common Policy on Patents.

Key questions from the audience, mainly made of SME representatives and officers from various , that were addressed were:

1) what are SEPs and how SMEs can develop business models by sharing their patented innovations in standards;

2) what does it mean that licensing conditions for patents in standards should be Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND);

3) why should SMEs patent their innovations, how are patents declared in the standardisation process and at what steps of the process is it more convenient to declare them.

DIGITAL SME will continue to work in the framework of SBS ICT sectoral approach is to develop specific activities on ICT standards in support of SMEs, aiming informing, raising awareness and stimulating the active participation of SMEs and their associations on ICT strategic issues.

Event program can be found here.

Here you can find speakers’ presentations: