Standard-essential patents: help or hindrance in the IoT?


Peter Koch

Standard-essential patents: help or hindrance in the IoT?


While the internet of things will create an ever-more interconnected technology landscape, it may cause major problems in the area of standard-essential patents if the new framework is not managed carefully. Peter Koch of Pinsent Masons investigates.

The internet of things (IoT) will result in an increase in connectivity between devices. In order to enable seamless communication of devices with each other, regardless of manufacturer, operating system, or other technical components, standard based communication is key.

This is generally achieved by the use of patents which have been declared essential to use of the standard: standard-essential patents (SEPs). In turn the holder of a SEP must commit to license it on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

In the past, this has not prevented litigation, in particular in the area of mobile communication, which has become widely known as the “smartphone wars” and has been responsible for a variety of decisions trying to determine whether the parties are in fact FRAND compliant—and what that actually means.

Peter Koch, Pinsent Masons, IoT, Internet of Things, FRAND, patent