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
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