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    Law & Compliance

    A strong patent law for a strong Europe

    Unambiguous “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” conditions are vital if interruptions to supplies as a result of injunction claims are to be avoided.

    Unambiguous “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” conditions are vital if interruptions to supplies as a result of injunction claims are to be avoided.

    Fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory

    Patent law plays a crucial role in the automotive industry for the protection of innovations for both manufacturers and suppliers. Due to increasing networking among vehicles, the use of telecommunications standards is becoming more and more important for the automotive industry, and the necessary communication technologies are usually the subject of international standards. They are often protected by numerous standard essential patents (SEP), whose owners usually undertake to grant a license on FRAND ("fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory") terms by making corresponding declarations in the course of standardization. However, there is currently no uniform understanding of what is specifically meant by such FRAND conditions.

    It is essential for the automotive industry to have access to the technologies required for connected vehicles under predictable conditions and thus avoid supply interruptions due to injunctive claims. The VDA has therefore developed criteria for licensing under FRAND conditions and injunctions resulting from SEP, and welcomes the 2021 patent law reform with the new proportionality test in injunction proceedings under Section 139 PatG. The IP Action Plan published by the Commission in 2020 must also provide more clarity for licensors and licensees of standard essential patents. However, more needs to follow for an infrastructure for research, development, and technology standardization that offers all market participants access to standardized technologies at the same time. It is the view of the VDA that a license entitlement needs to be established for all those who, according to objective criteria, launch a standard-compliant product on the market.

    Contact person

    Dr. Ralf Scheibach

    Head of the Legal & Compliance Department

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