Industry 4.0 and FRAND licensing



In our meeting we discussed what new challenges the manufacturing industry in the era of Industry 4.0 might face regarding the licensing of SEP and what can be learnt from the experience the telecommunication sector has made with FRAND-issues.

Prof. Dr.- Ing. Robert Dust, TU Berlin
Professor Dust holds the Chair for Quality Strategy and Quality Competence at the Technical University Berlin. The chair, endowed by the German association of the automotive industry (Verband der Deutschen Automobilwirtschaft – VDA), aims to secure new technologies, global supply chains and future business models in the automotive industry. In his talk, Professor Dust will introduce the concept of Industry 4.0 from the automotive industry perspective and outline the challenges the implementation of corresponding use cases faces in securing the required interoperability of communication networks.

Dr. Clemens Heusch, Nokia
Dr. Clemens Heusch is Head of European Litigation at Nokia and will talk about the experiences he has made with negotiating, litigating and arbitrating FRAND-licenses in the telecommunication sector from the patent owner perspective.

Judge Fidelma Macken
Judge Macken is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland and a former judge of the European Court of Justice. She will add the perspective of a judge and arbitrator of FRAND-disputes to the discussion.

David Perkins
David Perkins is a WIPO Mediator and Arbitrator at JAMS International. He has acted as counsel and arbitrator in international arbitrations and National Court disputes involving patents and other IPRs, including FRAND disputes. He worked with ETSI and WIPO in relation to producing the WIPO Submission Agreement for med/arb of FRAND disputes. He will talk about the particularities counsels have to take into account when handling FRAND-cases.

The discussion is moderated by Dr. Axel Walz
Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

The vision of Industry 4.0 is based on interoperability and communication. Both require a high level of technical standardization. Following a standard, however, often means using a large number of standard-essential patents (SEP). While there is a general understanding that SEP need to be licensed on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND-terms), in practice defining FRAND and negotiating FRAND-licenses for complex SEP-portfolios can be challenging.
The core challenge is that inventors’ and implementers’ interests need to be well balanced to ensure an innovation friendly standardization. While a FRAND-license must make sure that inventors continue to be sufficiently incentivized to contribute new technological developments to the standardization process, it must be ensured at the time that standards are open and accessible for all those wishing to implement standardized technologies. Also for that reason, prolonged disputes before courts should be avoided, since they are costly and can slow down companies’ entrepreneurial aspirations and innovation.

Followed by a reception with drinks and appetizers

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