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Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) Licensing Terms. Research Analysis of a Controversial Concept

The complexity of standards in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) creates a tension between the need to reward the owners of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) that may cover standard specifications and the need to make standards available to all for public use. In the last few years, this tension has crystallized into a difficult debate on licensing principles that must be Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND or FRAND licensing). The purpose of this report is to provide a balanced account of the current controversy relating to the FRAND licensing of standard essential patents and to explore future research topics in this area. It draws on the arguments that arose at an expert workshop held under Chatham House rules at the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) and on an extensive review of the related literature.