George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Focusing on IP for the Next Generation of Mobile Technology

hand holding a phone with holographs hovering over the screenIn advance of our Sixth Annual Fall Conference on IP for the Next Generation of Technology, the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property will be highlighting works on the challenges brought by the revolutionary developments in mobile technology of the past fifteen years. These articles address issues related to patent licensing, standard setting in the mobile technology sector, and developing business models at the dawn of the 5G era. Contrary to the tread-worn claims that new technological developments render IP rights obsolete, these articles show how stable and effective property rights in innovative technologies continue to foster the groundbreaking advancements that benefit societies.

Much debate in the mobile technology sector has centered on recent policy changes in the standard setting organizations responsible for the development of global industry standards. In a recent paper focusing on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE), mobile industry expert Keith Mallinson explores the practical impact of policy changes made in 2015 by the IEEE that implemented the “patent holdup” theory by restricting the rights of owners of patents on technology that is contributed to standards.

Providing an empirical analysis of the activity of innovators of new standards technology since the 2015 change in the IEEE’s patent policy, Mallinson finds that innovators are not contributing their patents resulting from their massive investments over many years into risky research and development of cutting-edge technologies. This is evidence that the one-sided and unbalanced restrictions on innovators, and not on implementers, that were imposed by the IEEE in 2015 under the “patent holdup” theory have slowed the adoption and implementation of pioneering technologies. Mallinson explains that a more balanced and clear respect for the rights of owners of patented technologies that are contributed to standards must be restored in order to better facilitate technological advancements.

To read the Mallinson article, which first appeared on the 4iP Council website in September 2017, please click here.