Response to US DoT Consultation

23 January 2019. The Fair Standards Alliance (FSA) thanks the U.S. Department of Transportation for this opportunity to submit comments in response to its Notice relating to V2X Communications. We write to address specifically the interoperability issues between and among V2X technologies that DoT raises in Questions 3-6. To achieve such interoperability, the use of standardized wireless communication technologies (e.g., Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth, etc.) may be required. One of the key concerns in this regard is whether innovators, including in the automotive sector but also far beyond, can obtain licenses to standardized technologies on fair terms, and when needed can build on those standards to bring innovative products to consumers around the globe. The FSA recommends that, in order to achieve the full potential of V2X communications interoperability and functionality, the DoT should ensure that the owners of the intellectual property that underlie communications technologies are not able to hold up innovation and V2X rollout.

The Fair Standards Alliance includes a broad mix of small and large companies deeply engaged on technology and standard essential patent (SEP) issues. Our industry signatories come from diverse verticals, including telecommunications, automotive, software, semiconductor and technology. Collectively we own well in excess of 300,000 patents and patent applications, spend more than 100 billion in R&D, and employ more than 1 million people.

Today’s technology standards often are based on and utilize standard essential patents (SEPs). The owners of these patents voluntary commit to license their IP on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms when engaging in standardization activities. We believe that abuses related to SEPs – particularly in connection with wireless telecommunications technologies – can dramatically undermine incentives to innovate, and can harm consumers as well as market-participants in a wide variety of US industries. Such abuses also have become increasingly expensive and time-consuming for companies to address.

We recommend that DoT institute as conditions on the use of its grant funds several provisions to limit the potential for SEP abuse. DoT should mandate that participants in V2X markets overseen by DoT expressly agree to abide by FRAND commitments, as they have been construed and applied by the US courts, including to (i) seek compensation based on the value of the patent only (not on the entire end product); (ii) provide a license to any company that is 2 willing to pay royalties on FRAND terms; and (iii) forego injunctive relief except where monetary compensation cannot be obtained.

 

Download full response here.

 

 

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