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The expanding significance of arbitration for patent licensing disputes : from post-termination disputes to pre-licensing FRAND disputes

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Published in ASA Bulletin. 2014, vol. 32, no. 4, p. 692-706
Abstract In its recent decision ATF 140 III 134, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held that certain claims raised by patent licensors against their exlicensee after the termination of their patent license agreement were within the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal notwithstanding a contractual provision which seemed to limit the submission to arbitration of only pretermination disputes. This interesting decision confirms that courts can consider adequate to confer to arbitral tribunals the jurisdictional powers to decide on patent-related claims after the termination of the patent license agreement at issue, even in the presence of contractual limits to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. This note further discusses the opposite scenario in which certain disputes arising before the conclusion of a patent license agreement can be submitted to arbitration. This peculiar situation arises in connection with so called standard essential patents (which are quite common in the information technology / telecommunication industries) which must be made available to willing licensees under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions (FRAND) and for which arbitration can be used in order to determine the FRAND-compliant terms and conditions of the patent license agreement (specifically the royalties to be paid by the licensee for the use of the standard essential patents). This note analyses this scenario in the light of the recent commitments made by Samsung (in its high profile dispute with Apple) which were validated by the European Commission on April 29, 2014 and which contains very interesting arbitration-related features which deserve to be presented. In sum, this note illustrates the expanding significance of arbitration for patent licensing disputes with respect to both post-termination disputes (as decided in ATF 140 III 134) and pre-licensing disputes (as contemplated for FRAND disputes).
Keywords Droit de la propriété intellectuelleArbitrage international privé
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Research group Droit - Propriété intellectuelle
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DE WERRA, Jacques. The expanding significance of arbitration for patent licensing disputes : from post-termination disputes to pre-licensing FRAND disputes. In: ASA Bulletin, 2014, vol. 32, n° 4, p. 692-706. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:46142

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Deposited on : 2015-02-02

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