Alfred-Consulting LLC

Intellectual Property Evaluation by Experts

Frequently Asked Questions

a. Standards are valuable to network providers because they allow for a multi-vendor environment, reducing costs and improving network components by market competition. Standards also allow manufacturers to gain sales by becoming a vendor to a network provider since their products work well with the products of other manufacturers.

Standards at best only provide 80% to 85% of the interoperability that network providers seek. The remaining interoperability is achieved by operations forums that reduce the number of options provided by the standards and by network provider certifications of products.

a. At the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, the standards or recommendations, as they are called at the ITU, are approved by countries. Individual corporations participate in their own country approval process before bringing a contribution to Geneva.

b. At the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Committee T1 (Telecommunications) the standards are approved by corporations. Individual corporations participate in their own approval process before bringing a contribution to one of the sub-committees, such as T1S1 (signalling), of Committee T1.

a. FRAND means Fair, Reasonable and Non-discriminatory, a requirement of the patent policy of a standards organization. In the absence of an industry patent pool to define FRAND rates and terms and avoid royalty-stacking for a technology, the courts provide their definition usually based at least in part on the Georgia-Pacific factors.

a. A standards essential patent (SEP) is a patent whose claims are essential to one or more sections of a standard. There is a difference between a SEP that is essential to the core functioning of a technology defined by a standard and an SEP essential to an optional section of a standard. A non-standards patent is not essential to a standard. The owner of a non-standards patent is not subject to FRAND obligations and may charge whatever rate and determine whatever terms they are able to negotiate. 

a. Yes, this is a requirement of the federal government. 

A patent pool is a group of licensors who test their patents as essential to a standard and offer a license on FRAND rates and terms jointly to avoid royalty stacking.