Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Standard-Essential Patents and Technical Standards

Over the last decades, technical standards have gained increasing attention in various industries and are now playing a crucial role, in particular in the information and communication technol-ogy (ICT) sectors. Standards such as WiFi and LTE comprise highly complex technologies often developed by various firms and research organizations. In negotiation rounds organized by standard-setting organizations (SSOs), the different stakeholders seek to reach consensus decisions on a set of complementary technologies which would be necessary for the functionality of a new standard. These technologies are usually protected by intellectual property rights (IPRs) which are then declared to be standard-essential for the associated standards supported by the respective SSO. Whether patents are, however, in fact essential for a particular standard is generally not assessed within the SSO. This leads to a significant number of declared but non-essential patents (over-declaration). Moreover, there may also be non-declared essential patents (under-declaration). In order to detect such cases of over- or under-declaration, a semantic algorithm is applied to compare patents with standard documents. Implementing this novel approach, the thesis aims to shed more light on the incentives and the impact of over- and under-declaration of standard-essential patents. In particular, firms will be compared regarding the extent to which they pursue such strategies. The dissertation also studies to what degree different SSO declaration policies affect the phenomenon of over- or under-declaration.



Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D.