Patent holders are going to have to play nice for the 5G world to succeed.
That was the message delivered by European Union competition commission Margrethe Vestager in Brussels Monday at the second annual Chillin’ Competition conference.
According to Vestager, the European Commission has a duty to intercede to defend competition and the rights of consumers. And one area where that duty comes into play is around standards essential patents.
Vestager said around $120 of the cost of each smartphone today comes from paying royalties for patents used in the device – some of which are “essential” to make sure the phone meets a standard like GSM or 4G. In the case of those essential patents, it’s important that companies get a fair shake and patent holders don’t go back on their promise to provide the technology on fair terms. If patent holders do renege on their end of the deal, device makers can be left in a tough spot.
“In that situation, some phone makers may need to accept whatever terms they’re presented with. That could mean they end up paying unjustified royalties, and that their customers have to pay more than they should,” Vestager said.
But as the world moves toward 5G, Vestager said it will be more important than ever to make sure standards essential patents are readily available at a fair price.
“As 5G technology develops, together with the Internet of Things, more and more products will be connected to each other,” Vestager said. “And to make sure that happens in a way that works for consumers, there needs to be fair access to standards, and a reward for genuine innovators.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations, Wireless