A review of SDO IPR policies: Do they require component level licensing?



Must owners of IP rights (IPR) that may be essential to standards offer licenses of their essential IPR to each component maker? Or do they satisfy their commitment to Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) by offering licenses to the end user product maker, which provide "have made" rights or other assurances for the component maker? Do they need to offer license terms in circumstances where they do not seek to enforce their patents?

We look at the wording of the IPR policies of various SDOs. We find that none of the IPR policies requires the IPR holder to offer licenses of its essential IPR to component makers. All of the policies would appear to permit holders of essential IPR to adopt a policy of licensing to the end-user product manufacturer. Many of the policies contain wording that could only be relevant or applicable when licensing to parties who buy in components from component makers, such as end-user product manufacturers. 

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