Standard Essential Patents (SEP)

Standard essential patents (SEP)

What's an SEP?

SEP stands for Standard Essential Patents i.e. any patent that essentially claims elements that may get incorporated at a later time in any standard specification. SEPs are also referred as patents that claim technological elements that are essential to be used in any industrial standard. The standard specification could be any standard related to telecommunication domain.  Once a patent is declared as SEP, it can be licensed out within the industry under fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Major companies contributing for SEPs are Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, ZTE, Samsung, Intel, LG Electronics and a few more, majorly contributing in the 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G technologies.

The major challenges faced by Corporates

There is no easy and reliable method to identify patents that are declared as standards. Several companies have a tendency of over declaring their patents as standards to get an edge above their competitors in the cut-throat SEP race. Various law firms and database companies charge whooping amount of money to correctly assure whether a patent declared as SEP is actually a standard essential patent or not. Plus, they take a lot of time in identifying and proving in accurately identifying the essentiality of all the patents in the portfolio of different companies. 

Why is it difficult to accurately identify the SEPs

Standards are plenty, be it related to 3G, 4G, 5G, 5GAA, O-RAN, C-RAN, V-RAN, nR, etc. or related to short range communication such as NFC, ZigBee, RFID, Li-Fi, etc. or related to wireless communication IEEE standards like 802.11n, etc. In order to prove essentiality of a patent, screening through millions of patents against all the versions of the standards, their change requests, the email exchanges between standard bodies, etc. needs thorough domain expertise to accurately and quickly scan through the patent claims and specifications and try to identify the correct overlapping standard versions. Due to lack of technical expertise and a powerful mind+ machine blend, the quality output delivered by various database companies and service providers falls short of companies’ expectations. Since identification of SEPs need a very strong technical background with proven track record, a pure automation approach is restricted in this space. Therefore, an expert service provider who has a strong technical team and also uses proprietary SEP database is the need of the hour for correctly identifying the SEPs. Also ramping up the team size based on the work volume is another challenge in the SEP space, as trained technical experts in the domain are limited that can bring top-notch quality in 100% cases.  

Some open questions yet to be unearthed in the SEP space

  • Are companies acquiring new start-ups who have standard essential patents to bolster their innovation pipeline?
  • How can companies identify emerging start-ups in the telecom standard space and fund them much before their competitors can?
  • Can a patent declared as standard be invalidated? What are the ways to do that?
  • Can a claim chart made on a declared standard against an SEP patent be rebutted? What all arguments need to be filed for the claim chart rebuttal?

Unique Solutions Offered by MCRPL

  • Team Expertise – very strong team comprising of Masters and PhDs in the telecom domain, spearheading the standard essentiality check and having in-depth knowledge of the domain
  • Work Output – team clocks more than 1000 hours of work every week, analyzing standards involved in the telecom 3GPP, short range, IEEE wireless domains and finding the essentiality of patents
  • USP – Unique Selling Point – apart from searching for standards on 3GPP, ETSI website, MCRPL has an in-house proprietary standards database which is updated every week. The database helps in improving the accuracy, precision, recall for retrieving the correct standards. Plus, the database helps is reducing the turn-around time for doing the accurate and precise analysis
  • Client Testimonials – have delivered more than 38000 hours of work for couple of clients since 2021, working majorly on proving the essentiality of patents. Proven track record of delivering best quality output in the shortest time possible and getting accolades time and again from the delighted clients

‘The Punchline’

Are you lost in the SEP space or lagging behind in the SEP race, give us a try and we will make sure to get you back in your quest for staying ahead of your competitors’  

Interested in Standard Essential Patents (SEP) ? Reach out to us.