Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thursday Miscellany: Attorneys' Fees, FRAND, License-to-All versus Access-to-All

1. On Law360, Lionel Lavenue, Amanda Stephenson, R. Benjamin Cassidy, and Brooke Willner published an article titled Evolving Case Law Elucidates Atty Fees for Patent Litigants.  The article discusses some recent case law addressing who counts as a "prevailing party" under Patent Act section 285, and exactly when a court has jurisdiction to award fees (e.g., if the plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed its claims).  Definitely worth a read.  For previous discussion on this blog, see, e.g., here.

2.  Also on Law360, Dani Kass published an article titled 3 Takeaways from Landmark German FRAND Decision.  The article discusses the BGH's recent decision in Sisvel v. Haier, and states that the three takeaways are that "licensees must play ball," "different isn't discriminatory," and "patent owners decide the scope."  For previous discussion of the case on this blog, see here.

3.  Also of possible interest is a paper by Anne-Layne Farrar and Richard J. Stark, titled License to All or Access to All?  A Law and Economics Assessment of Standard Development Organizations' Licensing Rules,  Geo. Wash. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming).  Here is a link, and here is the abstract:
In the continuing debate over licensing standard essential patents (SEPs) with FRAND commitments (to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms and conditions), one of the most heated topics is whether FRAND commitments should be interpreted to require licensing all comers, or whether access to standards can be achieved through other, less rigid means. This article evaluates both the legal and the economic arguments underlying this debate. This article concludes that neither the law nor economic welfare justifies a “license to all” interpretation of FRAND commitments. To the contrary, such a regime is not supported by patent, contract or antitrust law, and likely would be harmful to social welfare.
For previous discussion of this issue on this blog, including a link to an analysis I published on Law360, see here, here and here.

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