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IEEE Testifies Before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Standards-Essential Patents and Antitrust Law

30 July 2013 – Dr. John D. Kulick, chair of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board, testified today before the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights on “Standard-Essential Patent Disputes and Antitrust Law.” IEEE was the only standards development organization invited to testify at the hearing. IEEE’s standards development serves consumers, consistent with IEEE’s mission of the advancement of technology for the benefit of humanity. Kulick was joined by Deputy Director Suzanne Munck from the Federal Trade Commission, as well as by representatives from Intel Corporation and Qualcomm Incorporated.

Kulick testified that the Subcommittee’s work “is very timely and may be an inflection point” in global efforts to address the important intersection of patents, standards, and antitrust issues. 

Kulick stated that “IEEE fully realizes the importance of a comprehensive patent policy and has put in place a balanced framework with detailed rules and procedures that define how patented technologies should be taken into account in IEEE standards.” Kulick outlined the IEEE principles of standards development, including due process, broad consensus-building across a range of interests, transparency of information and records, balance without dominance, and openness to all interested parties.

Kulick pointed out, however, that a focus on standards development organization (SDO) rules is not enough, saying, “As a matter of fact, a paradigm shift is necessary.” He called for “improved self-regulation of patenting behavior during the early phases of the standardization process through a close collaboration between patent offices and SDOs.” Kulick gave as an example the strategic Memorandum of Understanding that IEEE signed in 2010 with the European Patent Office: “the first ever between an SDO and a patent regulatory authority.” IEEE-SA has offered to explore cooperation with other patent offices and regulatory bodies around the world.

Read Kulick’s written testimony.



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