Study on the interplay between standards and intellectual property rights (IPRs)

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) in standards have proven to be an intensively debated issue in industry bodies, in standard setting organisations (SSOs), in academic circles, and - increasingly - in court. While both standards and patents aim to promote innovation and market place adoption, there is little else that they have in common. Patents in standardised technology are one of the many issues that market players have to address during the development and implementation of standards. The phenomenon of patents in standards occurs in those areas where standards relate to innovative and therefore often patented technologies, e.g. in the information and communication technology (ICT) which is regarded as being crucial for the development and success in more and more industry and service sectors.
Based on this background, the European Commission launched a fact-finding study to analyse the interplay of IPR and standards. Starting from a literature survey, the study implements a multidimensional approach based on an analysis of IPR databases of important international and European SSOs and consortia, interviews with various stakeholders located all over the world, and an international survey among standards producing and standards implementing companies. In addition, the IPR policies of more than 20 SSOs and reviewed case law, industry views and trends are investigated.
Findings suggest that the globalisation of actors and the convergence of technologies call for a global perspective on the interplay between IPRs and standardisation.The policies of the European Union should continue to promote voluntary, market-led standardisation, whereas IPR policies should be set by the SSOs themselves.


URL (European Commission)


IPR, Patents, Standards

Additional information:

AuthorsBlind, Knut, Bekkers, Rudi, Dietrich, Yann, Iversen, Eric, Köhler, Florian, Müller, Benoît, Pohlmann, Tim, Smeets, Stein, Verweijen, Jurgen
Publisher:European Commission
Keywords:IPR, Patents, Standards
Last update:2011