LESI: 100 years of FRAND


Jorge Contreras

LESI: 100 years of FRAND


FRAND policies in the US date back more than 100 years, and policy makers are well advised to remember the historical precedents when crafting and analysing such commitments, argues Jorge Contreras on behalf of LESI.

Broadly adopted standards such as Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, MPEG and Bluetooth enable products made by different vendors to communicate and interact with each other in a manner that is largely invisible to the consumer. Many of these standards have been developed collaboratively by manufacturers, technology providers and others within voluntary trade associations, referred to as standard-setting organisations (SSOs).

One of the risks associated with developing collaborative standards is that one or more competitors will obtain patents covering a standardised technology and use those patents either to prevent others manufacturing and selling standards-compliant products or to extract excessive patent royalties from those wishing to do so.

In order to prevent these types of abuses, most SSOs have adopted policies that require their participants: 1) to disclose patents they own that are essential to the implementation of a standard, and/or (2) to license these essential patents to others on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Jorge Contreras, LESI, FRAND, SSO, patent, DOJ,