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IEC, ISO and ITU, the world’s leading developers of international standards agree on common patent policy
Use of International Standards to disseminate innovation encouraged by new agreement

Issued simultaneously by ITU, ISO and IEC

Geneva, 19 March 2007 — The world’s leading international standards organizations have 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), have 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.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU: "ITU’s standards-setting work is closely linked with innovation and new research. Today, it is difficult to develop technical standards without implicating patents. On the other hand, we have to take into account the interests of end-users. Therefore a balance must be found. We believe that this policy will encourage industry to share its intellectual property with implementers of standards on a reasonable basis knowing that their interests will be protected."

Alan Bryden, Secretary-General of ISO: "The fine-tuning of this policy to achieve exactly the right balance — ownership versus sharing of intellectual property — is no small achievement. In this way we enable International Standards to be used to successfully disseminate innovation, with a clear set of guidelines regarding the disclosure of and commitment to license the use of patented technologies. It is an excellent example of the co-operation between the three WSC partners."

Aharon Amit, IEC General Secretary: "International standards developed by ISO, ITU and IEC provide a practical solution to many of the challenges faced by business in today’s increasingly global markets. Industry has been seeking a common approach to patents from the world’s leading standards developers. I am pleased that the increased collaboration between the World Standards Cooperation partners has led to the development of this common policy which will ultimately benefit end-users and 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.

For further information, please contact:

Roger Frost
Manager, Communication Services
Tel. +41 22 749 0111
Dennis Brougham
Communications Manager
Tel: +41 22 919 0260
Toby Johnson
Communication Officer
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868

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Updated : 2007-08-01