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 15: The role of patent pledges in the cloud

Liza Vertinsky


Cloud computing is changing the ways in which information is stored and shared and, in doing so, is enabling new business models, shifting and remixing existing industrial categories, altering market dynamics, and in some cases creating new markets. This has increased the complexities of the intellectual property environment within which information and technology companies compete and innovate. Competition between and among proprietary, open source and hybrid cloud computing strategies further complicate the intellectual property landscape. While patents are likely to play a role in shaping the evolution of the industry, and the number of patents and patent applications relevant to cloud computing technologies continues to grow, how these patents will be used by their owners and with what consequences remains to be seen. Patent pledges play a potentially important but poorly understood role in the shaping and reshaping of relationships between patents, competition and innovation in this industry. This chapter examines ways in which patent pledges have emerged as innovation strategies in cloud computing.

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