From the Alliance

Dec. 23, 2019

Innovation Alliance Statement on DOJ-USPTO-NIST Joint Policy Statement on Standard-Essential Patents

New Policy Statement Helps Restore Injunctive Relief as a Remedy for Patent Infringement for Standard-Essential Patent Holders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper today issued the following statement on the release of the Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Joint Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents (SEPs), where the patent holder has agreed to license patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms:

“The Innovation Alliance applauds Assistant Attorney General Delrahim, Director Iancu, Director Copan and the staff of their agencies for issuing this important revised Joint Policy Statement on remedies for standard-essential patents. We enthusiastically welcome this course correction in U.S. policy.

“As the agencies note, the 2013 Joint Policy Statement was interpreted to deny SEP holders the right to seek an injunction or exclusion order when their patent was infringed. That radically changed the negotiating dynamic between SEP holders and SEP users that had worked well for decades and produced tremendous results, including giving rise to the smart phone revolution.

“Without the ability to enforce a patent, SEP holders are forced into an extremely weak negotiating position against SEP users, whose prime objective is to pay as little as possible, if at all, to use the SEP. In the same way that so-called ‘patent trolls’ are said to settle infringement lawsuits for less than the cost of defending a suit, without injunctions, SEP users can seek to license SEPs for less than the cost of bringing an infringement suit. In effect, the SEP holder often has no choice but to accept an unfairly low licensing fee.

“SEP holders are developing cutting-edge technologies and driving U.S. leadership in critical areas such as 5G and artificial intelligence. They include some of our country’s most innovative companies and inventors. If we fail to provide these innovators with adequate protections for their intellectual property, we will undermine their ability to continue investing in R&D and further drive innovation overseas, where our foreign competitors, including China, are now often providing stronger patent protections.

“Under the new Joint Policy Statement, the agencies clarify that when licensing negotiations fail, appropriate remedies for patent infringement, including injunctive relief, should be available to SEP holders. This is exactly the kind of change we need to strengthen our patent system and ensure it continues to serve as an engine for innovation, job creation and economic growth in the United States.”




The Innovation Alliance represents innovators, patent owners and stakeholders from a diverse range of industries that believe in the critical importance of maintaining a strong patent system that supports innovative enterprises of all sizes. Innovation Alliance members can be found in large and small communities across the country, helping to fuel the innovation pipeline and drive the 21st century economy. Learn more at