Patent Pledges
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Patent Pledges

Global Perspectives on Patent Law’s Private Ordering Frontier

Edited by Jorge L. Contreras and Meredith Jacob

Patent holders are increasingly making voluntary, public commitments to limit the enforcement and other exploitation of their patents. The best-known form of patent pledge is the so-called FRAND commitment, in which a patent holder commits to license patents to manufacturers of standardized products on terms that are “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.” Patent pledges have also been appearing in fields well beyond technical standard-setting, including open source software, green technology and the biosciences. This book explores the motivations, legal characteristics and policy goals of these increasingly popular private ordering tools.
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Chapter 11: Patent pledge enforcement in China

Elizabeth Xiao-Ru Wang

Abstract

While patents are a relatively new phenomenon in China, the country has become a major player in patent applications and patent grants around the world. Currently, the concept of patent pledges by which patent owners willingly diminish their rights to benefit from their patents is, in general, new and unfamiliar to Chinese patent holders. Although a number of Chinese companies in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector have made patent pledges to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms as participants of various standards development organizations (SDOs), there is no evidence that Chinese companies have actively made patent pledges outside an SDO. Like many other countries around the world, China is active in enforcing FRAND commitments, the most well-known form of patent pledges. China’s approach to analysing and enforcing FRAND commitments has been under the abuse of dominance framework of its competition law.

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