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Tender: Interplay of Standard Developing Organisations and Intellectual Property Rights Systems in the ICT Industry

Spain, 24 March 2016


Standards are developed by a number of different actors as part of a voluntary process which is consensus oriented. With the development of the Internet of Things and the next generation (5G) of mobile phone communication, standard setting at global level will determine the success of innovation. Considering the variety of interests of actors involved in standard setting, standard setting governance determines the success of Standard Developing Organizations (SDOs) in integrating the different interests at stake. Effective rule setting and governance of SDOs are paramount for the successful development and implementation of standards. Most SDOs have determined their own goals and their own systems of governance, typically determined by SDO members. Interoperability at global level determines the success of standard setting. This does require at least some degree of coordination between the different governance approaches of different SDOs. Different policy approaches developed by SDOs will have to be in line with one another at least at a high-level, in spite of differences in specific rules and procedures. This line of thinking is in particular true for policies regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) in standards namely the dealing with standard essential patents by SDOs.

The present study aims at achieving a comprehensive overview of the structure of the interplay of IPR systems and SDOs from a public policy perspective. Considering the past experience and stakeholder interests as well as the global context in which this interplay is taking place, the study should identify elements of best practices for this interaction.

The study must find out whether the current model of governance for the interplay of IPR systems and SDOs in Europe is well functioning from a welfare perspective. In the case that it is not, it should identify why is it not operating in an optimal way and how could the interplay of systems be improved, providing concrete recommendations in that case.

The analysis will take into account in particular the following questions:

  • The current IPR discussions at SDOs seems to be driven by only a small set of industry players often positioning themselves as representing the interests of technology developers and/or technology implementers. However, decisions taken by SDOs on, for example, 5G and Internet of Things related technologies have a much broader societal, legal, and economic impact.  Do SDOs have to consider an horizon that goes beyond the interests of their members?  

  • What is or can be the role in standardisation setting of societal groups such as consumers, end-users etc. and those of other industry players, in particular the so-called “vertical” players (transportation, life sciences, energy, etc.)? How are they represented in the process of ICT standard making?

  • Development and deployment of 5G means that SDOs will have to work together at a global level. Hence, is there a need for SDO policy coordination in general and for IPR policies coordination in particular?  If coordination is not possible, what are the potential points of conflict?

  • What would be an appropriate plan and infrastructure to allow collaboration between SDOs, between Patent Offices and between SDOs and Patent Offices?

  • What is in particular the role of patent quality (and implicitly of quantity) as an essential input factor into the standardization system?

  • What are the most important factors for a sustainable co-existence of IPR systems and standardization systems in Europe in the context of the Digital Single Market?

  • What are the benefits of standard setting and of specific IPR rules in standard setting and what their impact on the European economy?

  • What role does transparency play in building SDO policies?  In this context and that copyright (and/or open access).

  • What role can or should policy makers, such as the European Commission, play to ensure that the interplay between IPR systems and SDOs has a positive effect for the society? 

The Contractor must perform the following tasks during the implementation of the contract.

  • Task 1 – Project kick-off and literature review

  • Task 2 – SDO governance case studies

  • Task 3 – Stakeholder survey

  • Task 4 – Draft final report and stakeholder workshop

  • Task 5 – Synthesis, policy recommendations.

The maximum duration of the study will be 18 months after the last signature of the contract, including the time needed for the approval on interim deliverables. The time needed for possible comments and amendments to the final deliverable is not included.


Submission Deadline: 22 April 2016

Also view the ECN Procurement Notice (accessible by ECN Executive Members - Login to View)

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