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The Department of Justice, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Institute of Standards and Technology Withdraw 2019 Standards-Essential Patents (SEP) Policy Statement

The withdrawal “best serves the interests of innovation and competition,” conclude the three agencies.

image showing list of patents

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today the withdrawal of the 2019 Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents (SEPs) Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. After considering public input on the 2019 statement and possible revisions, the agencies have concluded that withdrawal of the 2019 statement is the best course of action for promoting both competition and innovation in the standards ecosystem.

On Jan. 8, 2013, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the USPTO issued a Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. On Dec. 19, 2019, the agencies withdrew the 2013 statement and issued the 2019 statement, which offered the views of the agencies and expressly recognized that it had “no force or effect of law.”  

In response to the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, on Dec. 6, 2021, the agencies issued a Draft Policy Statement on Licensing Negotiations and Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments and a request for public comments. After a review of those comments and a collaborative deliberation on how best to proceed, the agencies are announcing the withdrawal of the 2019 statement.

Read the new joint statement and the full announcement on the U.S. Patent and Trade Office website.

“The withdrawal of the 2019 Statement will strengthen the ability of U.S. companies to engage and influence international standards that are essential to our nation’s technology leadership and that will enable the global technology markets of today and tomorrow,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “A common thread in so many of the thoughtful stakeholder comments we received is a commitment to America’s industry-led, voluntary, consensus-based approach to standards development. This approach consistently delivers the best technical solutions, and I wholeheartedly support it.”

Released June 8, 2022