Analysis Group Experts Examine Conditions for Essentiality in Standard Essential Patents (SEPs)

August 10, 2017

In a paper coauthored with economists from an international high-tech firm, Managing Principal Marc Van Audenrode and Vice President Jimmy Royer analyze factors contributing to the over-declaration of standard essential patents (SEPs). Companies self-declare SEPs in order to cover technologies necessary to meet industry standards established by independent standard setting organizations. However, because patent holders are required to declare all patents that might be essential, some of the patents at issue may not actually rise to the level of essentiality.

In “Over-Declaration of Standard Essential Patents and Determinants of Essentiality,” posted in a pre-print version on SSRN, the authors analyze a set of SEPs declared for the 4G LTE cellular standard in order to identify patent and company attributes associated with technical essentiality. They discuss circumstances which may lead firms to make portfolio-wide blanket declarations covering all owned patents, whether they are truly essential or not; and they find that technical essentiality is best predicted if the declaration is made against a specific technical specification document. These and other insights from the study may be useful for informing the ongoing policy debates over standards, licensing of SEPs, and the patent system.

Download the paper