EU Pilot Study on Standard-Essential Patents

Pilot Study on Standard Essential Patents by TU Eindhoven and TUM School of Management will be presented by the European Commission

Standards for mobile communication technologies such as LTE and 5G become increasingly important, in particular with the rise of the Internet of Things. For these standards, tens of thousands of patents have been declared by their owners as “essential” – that is, indispensable for implementing the standard. Implementers require a license to essential patents, or “SEPs”, which in turn are a significant source of income for licensors. The problem is that the majority of declared SEPs are in fact not essential, which creates serious frictions in the licensing market.

In 2017, the European Commission proclaimed that SEPs should be subject to reliable scrutiny of their essentiality for a standard. The Commission (DG Grow) launched a pilot study in 2019 to explore the feasibility of scrutiny mechanisms to ascertain the essentiality of declared SEPs.

TUM Professor Joachim Henkel
Copyright: Andreas Heddergott

The study was led by Professor Rudi Bekkers from TU Eindhoven and included TUM researchers Professor Joachim Henkel and Lisa Teubner. It analyzed the technical and institutional feasibility of a system of essentiality scrutiny for SEPs, and is unique in its level of collaboration with patent offices, SEP owners, and professionals in the field. The final report on “Essentiality Assessment of Standard Essential Patents” recommends to pursue the development and implementation of a system for essentiality assessments.

The report on the study is the first, and currently only, public report in which essentiality assessment of SEPs has been experimentally tested at a large scale. The study will be officially presented at a webinar organized by the European Commission on December 2nd, 2020, starting 14:30. The event will also feature various talks of top officials of the European Commission, as well as a round-table panel discussion and Q&A. In order to join the webinar please register with the link provided below.

Registration link:

Download of the study:




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