CEN and CENELEC position on Standard Essential Patents and Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) commitments 

Through the publication of a second position paper on the relation between standards and patents essential for their use, CEN and CENELEC have decided to make a new contribution to this public debate.

In this position paper, CEN and CENELEC also present their first reply to the call by the European Commission to enhance the collaboration with the European Standardization Organizations, the European Patent Office and European industry to find suitable solutions regarding the use of essential patents in standards. This request was made in the recently published communication on "ICT Standardization Priorities for the Digital Single Market".

"We know that the debate around the fair balance between the interests of patent holders and users of essential patents in standards is complex and that consensual solutions can only be found through open and transparent dialogue among all relevant stakeholders. It is with this spirit that CEN and CENELEC intend to support the effort of the European Commission and contribute to this debate, which is flourishing with uncoordinated initiatives taken by government bodies, antitrust agencies and standard setting organizations across the globe”.  Elena Santiago Cid, Director General of CEN and CENELEC

As per the main findings of this Paper, CEN and CENELEC:

  1. consider as indispensable that patent holders commit to grant a licence under FRAND conditions;
  2. consider that it is not in their role to undertake the assessment of patent essentiality, scope, validity and strength;
  3. insist that standardization organizations shall never interfere with licensing negotiations;
  4. do not support initiatives to provide guidance on, or impose compliance with, FRAND pricing, valuation and rate-setting methodologies;
  5. stress that FRAND has no precise pricing content, but instead is a “comity device” designed to promote good faith negotiation between patent owners and prospective licensees;
  6. welcome the EU Commission Communication’s and promote an open, strong and effective disclosure policy.

This position paper follows an initial position paper by CEN and CENELEC in February 2015.

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