Articles

License to all or access to all? A law and economics assessment of standard development organizations’ licensing rules

December 30, 2020

In the continuing debate over licensing standard-essential patents
(SEPs) on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) 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.

In this article published in the The George Washington Law Review, Anne Layne-Farrar and co-author Richard J. Stark evaluate 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 and that imposition of such an interpretation would likely be harmful to social welfare.

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