ITU

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ITU Patent Roundtable
Geneva, Switzerland, 10 October 2012 Contact: tsbworkshops@itu.int
 
Structure of the Roundtable

CONTEXT OF THE MEETING:

In recent years, we have witnessed an upsurge of standards-related patent (SEP) litigation around the world among parties involved in the wireless, SmartPhone and tablet computer industries.

In these so-called "patent wars", some ICT industry players allege, among other things, that holders of SEPs that are subject to a RAND licensing commitment under the terms of SDOs' patent policies are seeking non-RAND licensing terms and leveraging injunctive relief (banning the importation, sale and/or distribution of products implementing the standard) to pressure the implementer into accepting those terms. Other industry participants, in turn, argue that if their SEPs are being infringed, they should be able to negotiate patent licenses and enforce their patent rights in the same way that patent holders do in connection with non-SEPs.

According to some stakeholders, the effect of these widespread and long-lasting disputes and investigations regarding RAND licensing approaches could stifle, rather than promote, innovation and competition within the ICT industry. As a result, this issue affects all relevant stakeholders, namely SDOs, government authorities, industry participants, and customers or end-users.

 

PURPOSE OF THE MEETING:

The purpose of the roundtable is to examine the effectiveness of RAND-based patent policies.

ITU believes the concerns raised by the ongoing SEP litigation are of utmost importance to the ICT industry as a whole. Therefore, ITU will leverage its public-private membership base, among other characteristics of the Union, to bring the various stakeholders together to engage in conversations on this subject. The purpose of the ITU Patent Roundtable is to provide a neutral, international forum in which the various ICT stakeholders can voice their respective positions and concerns on, discuss, exchange ideas about, and brainstorm possible compromises or solutions to this serious problem, including the role of SDOs and their patent policies.

 

CHATHAM HOUSE RULES AND PRESS

The two morning sessions of the ITU Patent Roundtable will be broadcast online to accredited journalists. In order to create an atmosphere conducive to fruitful negotiations, the two afternoon sessions of the Roundtable will not be webcast, recorded or accessible to the press. The Roundtable’s attendees will be permitted to report the results of discussions through their various channels, providing they adhere to the Chatham House Rule. Journalists wishing to learn the results of the discussions and negotiations are welcome to attend the ITU press conference, either in person or remotely, at the close of the event.
 
Chatham house rule:
"When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed."

 

DATE, FORMAT OF THE MEETING:

The ITU Patent Roundtable will take place on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at the ITU's headquarters in Geneva. The meeting will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions, each of which will be comprised of different segments, as described below.

Morning Session:

The morning session of the meeting will be comprised of the following one segment.
  • Segment 1 (part I): Background and General Perspectives of Certain Stakeholders
    • During the morning session, participants will be provided with general background information as well as specific data concerning the ongoing debate regarding SEP litigation and RAND licensing approaches.
    • Subsequently, the morning session moderator will invite officials representing various national government authorities, including trade and competition authorities to present their respective views and concerns on the subject. These presentations will be followed by a short Q&A session at the end.
  • Segment 1 (part II): Specific Perspectives of Certain Key Stakeholders in a “360 View” Format
    • Representatives of certain key stakeholders from each of the categories listed below will be selected in advance. Such categories are:
      • Standard Development Organizations
      • Industry players
      • Patent Offices
      • Academic Institutions
    • The morning session moderator will pose a number of questions relating to standards-related patent litigation and RAND licensing commitments to these key stakeholders. These questions will be formulated in advance of the meeting by ITU.
    • Each of the key stakeholders will be accorded 360 seconds in which to orally answer these questions.
    • Potential questions include:
      • What is your view of the increasing standard essential patent litigation and investigations, and the effectiveness of RAND licensing commitments?
      • What actions can SDOs and stakeholders take to improve the current situation concerning SEP litigation? Would there be value in further clarifying the nature and impact of a RAND licensing commitment?

Afternoon session:

The afternoon session of the meeting will be comprised of the following two segments:

  • Segment 2: World Café
    • World Café is a participative process methodology that enables the active involvement of each participant in a generative discussion around key questions for the group.
    • In practice, a world café gathering is divided into conversation rounds, guided by a question.
    • Groups of four to five participants explore the question and change places for the next round, allowing for cross-pollination of ideas.
    • At the end of each round, all the ideas issuing from the conversation are collected.
    • Two brief town-hall session will allow the group to identify overall general trends and collective insights.
    • The outcomes of each conversation are collected and shared with the participants and follow-up on actions is initiated as appropriate

World Café Programme

13:30   Introduction
13:45   Conversation 1
14:15   Conversation 2
14:45   Midway Town Hall
15:00   Conversation 3
15:30   Final Town Hall
15:40   Closing

  • Segment 3: Roundtable Discussions
    • At the beginning of the segment, the morning session moderator and the afternoon moderator will present an overview of the opinions and arguments expressed during Segments 1 and 2.
    • The afternoon session moderator will then invite all participants to discuss, exchange ideas about, and brainstorm possible compromises or solutions that have emerged during Segments 1 and 2.

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS; IMPORTANT DATES:

Participants in the ITU Patent Roundtable, as well as non-participants, are invited and encouraged to submit written contributions to ITU concerning the issue of SEP litigation and RAND licensing commitments. Contributions should be submitted to the ITU no later than September 28, 2012 at tsbworkshops@itu.int. These contributions will be communicated to the participants and made available to the public on the ITU’s website, but will not be presented during the meeting.