As new technologies emerge, the first thing that coercive associations ask, once these technologies rise to the level where it looks like money and/or free associations are forming in force, is, how do we regulate this?
Whenever a coercive association asks this question, the ostensible reasons will always be given that they need to protect people from potential abuse by this emerging technology, but what they are really after is assuring that the technology does NOT allow too much independence, anonymity, self-reliance for individuals and free associations, AND that wherever value is exchanged, the coercive association gets its cut.
This is what is going on in a number of fronts, and now the EU is tackling how to get ahead ot the emerging tech of the IoT (Internet of Things).
Before the end of 2017, the European Union Commission published a much-anticipated communication on standard-essential patents (SEPs).The communication includes guidance on SEP licensing.
In today’s hyper-connected world, interconnectivity and interoperability of digital technologies is crucial, and with the roll-out of 5G and the Internet of Things in the years to come, interconnectivity will be even more important for a wide range of new products that need to be interconnected, as to provide consumers with additional products and services (e.g. smart house appliances) and to create new business opportunities for European companies.
Many of the key technologies that are part of global technical standards today (such as WiFi, Bluetooth and 4G) are protected by so-called Standard Essential Patents (SEPs). A SEP is a patent that covers technology which must be used to comply with a technical standard (typically issued by a standard developing organization (SDO)). The capability of devices to work together depends on products and services complying with such standards, and a single device may often be covered by hundreds or even thousands of SEPs that cover parts of the technology.
Consequently, the inclusion of a patent in a technical standard may create a monopolistic advantage for the patent holder. However, in the modern world, it is critical that technological users can quickly get access to technology protected by SEPs and that disputes in licensing negotiations between technological users and holders of SEPs do not delay the widespread use of key standardised technologies, as this may hamper the development of interconnected products in Europe and ultimately affect the competitiveness of the EU economy.