01 October 2023

On 26 September, EIF organised a debate on “The future of the European standardization ecosystem – implications for Europe’s technological sovereignty“, hosted by Pilar del Castillo MEP and EIF Chair. Guest speakers included:

Kamil Kiljanski, Head of Unit 'Intangible economy', DG GROW, European Commission
Axel Ferrazzini, Managing Director of 4iP Council EU; Board Member of ETSI
Lyse Brillouet, VP Intellectual Property and Licensing, Orange
Arthur Percheron, Senior Patent Attorney, Schneider Electric

The future of the European standardization ecosystem

Pilar del Castillo MEP welcomed guests and started her speech by highlighting the EU's history in shaping connectivity technologies via open standardisation over the past 30 years, including cellular, Wi-Fi, and 4G. The main focus of the discussion, she added, is the recent Commission proposal for a Regulation on a new framework for standard essential patents (CEP and its potential impacts on licensing and addressing broader issues like the importance of technology standards, future global access to them, and the global backdrop of standardisation leadership. Critics argue the CEP regulation shifts from a bottom-up to a top-down approach, particularly concerning aggregate royalty determinations. Supporters believe it will enhance efficiency and predictability, especially for SMEs.

Axel Ferrazzini discussed Europe's journey in standardization with an emphasis on ETSI's role. He highlighted the initial drive for standards focused on global interoperability. The database by ETSI, a 15-year effort, lists potential standard essential patents. He brought attention to the debate on patent declarations and evolving technical specifications. ETSI is wary about how the European Commission's regulations might affect their database. Mr Ferrazzini stressed the significant role of European SMEs in standardization and their challenges in monetizing IP due to infringements. He asserted Europe's current leadership in telecommunications and called for prioritising patent quality over quantity. A looming concern is the potential shift in tech dominance towards Asian standards.

Lyse Brillouet highlighted Europe's prominence in open standardization. Noting the complexities in creating an inclusive regulation, she emphasized that Europe's open approach makes it a magnet for global firms. Despite the accessibility of open technologies, she cited the potential administrative burdens of the proposed regulation that might discourage investments in open standards. Additionally, Ms Brillouet pointed to an imbalance in the regulation, seemingly favoring implementers over patent holders. Representing Orange, a unique position as both patent holder and implementer, she urged a review of the regulation to maintain Europe's leadership, while still supporting the European Commission's transparency objectives.

Arthur Percheron emphasized Schneider Electric's evolution from a hardware-focused company to a digital entity, highlighting the importance of the proposed regulation as they delve deeper into the IoT business. He voiced support for the regulation due to its emphasis on transparency and predictability. For large companies like Schneider, lack of data on fair licensing agreements often leads to prolonged decision-making processes, with litigation being the last recourse. Mr Percheron added that the proposed regulation can provide clarity on essentiality and royalty rates. Predictability is crucial for businesses to anticipate costs, ensuring innovation isn't hampered by unforeseen IP costs. While Schneider isn't an SME, Mr Percheron noted similarities in challenges faced, especially in licensing negotiations. SMEs, often lacking expertise and resources, could benefit from the EU IPO's competence center. Conclusively, he believes the regulation, if fine-tuned collaboratively, can foster transparency, predictability, and trust among stakeholders.

  • #standards


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