By: Vlada Wendel
Abstract: Manufacturers in industries that are highly dependent on standards, such as telecommunications, rely on fair, reasonable, and non-discretionary terms when licensing standard essential patents. These patents are termed essential because they contain necessary patented technology required to comply with industry standards—such as the 5G standard. Industry setting organizations will typically mandate that these patents are licensed on fair, reasonable, and non-discretionary terms before adopting their technology into the standard. However, courts have struggled to determine when royalty rates satisfy fair, reasonable, and non-discretionary terms, and whether patents issued outside of their jurisdiction should be considered when determining royalty rates. This note examines the recent decision of Unwired Planet Int’l Ltd. v. Huawei Technologies Co., delivered on August 26, 2020, where the Supreme Court of United Kingdom tackled these precise issues. Further, this note discusses the implication that this Supreme Court holding has for companies conducting business internationally and the future of “global” royalty rates.
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