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What is ITU-T's IPR policy?

In March 2007, the world’s leading international standards organizations adopted a harmonized approach to address the inclusion of patented technology in standards. IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ITU, under the banner of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), aligned their policies which allow for commercial entities to contribute the fruits of their research and development (R&D) activity safe in the knowledge that their intellectual property rights are respected.

In today’s commercial world, especially in information and communication technologies (ICT), there is significant investment in R&D activity. A solid patent policy provides crucial investment protection while also opening-up intellectual property resources for broad implementation across the industry.

The policy adopted by the three organizations strongly encourages the disclosure of patented technology which is necessary for the implementation of a standard before the standardization process has been completed. It allows for companies’ innovative technologies to be included in standards as long as such intellectual property is made available under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. In addition, IEC, ISO and ITU have jointly adopted Guidelines for the Implementation of the Common Patent Policy and a Patent Statement and License Declaration Form.

Each of the three WSC organizations also has an online patent database to facilitate the work of the standards developers and to assist companies wishing to implement international standards/recommendations that include patented technologies.