Competition policy generally prohibits coordination among buyers or sellers, especially coordination on price, price-related inputs, and output that directly endangers the free play of competitive forces. Nonetheless it has been periodically proposed that this rule should be relaxed to permit the formation of licensing negotiation groups (“LNGs”) in markets for standard-essential patents (or “SEPs”) relating to wireless communications technologies. This proposal has no sound basis in economic theory or evidence. Contrary to common assertions, there is no evidence showing that SEP licensing markets widely suffer from “patent hold-up” or “royalty stacking.” To the contrary: over three decades of market performance indicate that aggregate SEP royalty rates have consistently reflected single-digit percentages of device prices, which is consistent with the rapid rates of adoption enjoyed by wireless communications technologies during this period.
- Case Law Search