The Department of Justice, USPTO and National Institute of Standards and Technology withdraw 2019 Standards-Essential Patents (SEP) policy statement

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The Department of Justice, USPTO and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (the Agencies) announced the withdrawal of the 2019 Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments (2019 Statement). After considering public input on the 2019 Statement and possible revisions, the Agencies have concluded that withdrawal of the 2019 Statement is the best course of action for promoting both competition and innovation in the standards ecosystem.

The Agencies recognize that standards-developing organizations (SDOs) and the widespread and efficient licensing of SEPs on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) or fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms (collectively F/RAND) help to promote technological innovation, further consumer choice, and enable industry competitiveness, including in emerging technologies and by new and small- to medium-sized market entrants.

In exercising its law enforcement role, the Justice Department will review conduct by standards essential patent (SEP) holders or standards implementers on a case-by-case basis to determine if either party is engaging in practices that result in the anticompetitive use of market power or other abusive processes that harm competition. In addition, in accord with President Biden’s Executive Order, the Agencies plan to continue to cooperate as appropriate on matters that affect the intersection of competition, standards development, and intellectual property rights.