Predicting the Essentiality of Standard Essential Patents

A leading communications technology company engaged Analysis Group in this strategy project to build a prediction model of the likelihood that a declared set of standard essential patents (SEPs) would be deemed truly essential if challenged in court. Companies self-declare SEPs in order to protect technologies necessary to meet the industry specifications 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.

Analysis Group's team – led by Managing Principal Marc Van Audenrode and Principal Jimmy Royer – analyzed a set of SEPs declared for the 4G LTE cellular standard. These came from a novel dataset of thousands of SEPs, which a team of engineers independently reviewed and categorized as truly essential or not in order to identify patent and company attributes associated with technical essentiality. They found 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.

The team also used innovative natural language processing tools to incorporate information from the text of the patent claims into the model to develop predictions of how likely a SEP is to be considered truly essential. 


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