Mandatory Patent Pools

In this student contribution to 4iP Council's research, the authors explain the link between patent pools and standardisation in telecommunications and analyse the potential impact of mandatory pools for innovation. Patent pools are often perceived as a significant tool for widespread innovation. Yet, they can also lead to monopolistic behavior. In practice, patent pools are used by some stakeholders as a tool to organise the licensing of standard essential patents. Thus, pools are encouraged by the European Commission, especially for the information and communication technology (ICT) field with complex products incorporating multiple patents. Yet, to be efficient and pro-competitive, pools need to fulfill certain conditions. 



In modern society, where consumers demand electronic devices to be continuously connected,
the implementation of standards, that allows for such interoperability between devices, is a
need. Standards also promote the increase and diffusion of technologies that work smoothly
and reliably together, allowing for the digitalisation of the global economy,2 and impacting
almost each area of our day-to-day lives.
In the area of mobile telecommunication, the industry relies heavily on standardisation. Already
in 2016, the European Commission proposed to focus standard-setting resources and
communities on five priority areas: 5G, Internet of Things, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and
data technologies to achieved a wider EU competitiveness.3 Action in these fields can indeed
speed up digitalisation and have an immediate impact on competitiveness in eHealth, intelligent
transport systems, connected/automated vehicles, smart homes, and cities.4
In this context, patent pools can play a significant role. This paper will explain why patent
pools have been suggested as the best way to achieve a successful standardisation in the
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field, as well as analyse the impact of
mandatory patent pools in innovation.

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