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Q&A with LES FRAND Licensing Standards Committee Co-Chairs Matteo Sabattini and Brian Scarpelli
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LES (U.S.A. and Canada) has established the FRAND Licensing Standards Committee, focused on the creation of an industry-wide, consensus-based business process standard that promotes an efficient and broadly-applicable FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) standard-essential patents (SEP) licensing process. LES spoke with FRAND Licensing Standards Committee Co-Chairs, Matteo Sabattini and Brian Scarpelli, about this new committee and its role within the Society:

What is the importance of this committee?
Matteo Sabattini: "The FRAND Licensing Standards Committee will create an industry-wide, consensus-based business process standard for businesses and professionals who engage in the practice of licensing standard-essential patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms."

Brian Scarpelli: "By bringing together industry experts across various industries and practitioners who engage in the licensing of SEPs on FRAND terms, the committee can collaborate on industry practices for this important area of the innovation ecosystem and find ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs."

What is the importance of standards, in general?
Matteo Sabattini: "Open, consensus-based standards represent a vital part of the industrial ecosystem. Standards have been shown to lower barriers to entry, reduce costs, achieve broad interoperability, enhance collaboration and, ultimately, benefit society. Business process standards have been instrumental in creating common guidelines that are, in some cases, widely used and accepted. They have also helped businesses of all sizes achieve compliance through best practices."

Brian Scarpelli: "In developing a standard, the Committee's goal is to achieve consensus on efficient industry negotiation practices that promote licensing of SEPs in a way that benefits all stakeholders – whether they be licensors or licensees of SEPs, individual inventors or innovating businesses, internal practitioners or outside professionals."

Why is this important to you, either personally, professionally, or both?
Matteo Sabattini: "FRAND licensing is a fundamental and integral component of innovation that has guaranteed the success of the standardization process and has allowed many industrial ecosystems to thrive. Highly complex technical standards require significant, risky upfront investments. The success of technical standards involves vibrant participation from a diversity of stakeholders including technology developers and innovators, and broad market adoption of the standard on a global scale. FRAND licensing guarantees a fair return on investment for those who voluntarily contribute their technologies into a standard while providing implementers and users of the standard access to the necessary technology. The FRAND Standard, developed by practitioners for practitioners, will serve the needs of SEP licensees and licensors in a pragmatic way that benefits all stakeholders."

Brian Scarpelli: "FRAND licensing is essential to innovation in today's business world and future IoT-driven verticals, particularly for small business startups. By providing consensus guidance on the FRAND licensing process, all stakeholders can have greater efficiency and clarity as they build and use standards to innovate." 

What would you say to someone wanting to know more?
Matteo Sabattini: "Get involved now. Participation and discussion with peers from the industry is the best way to make sure the standard we are developing benefits from broad expertise across different verticals and different business models, achieves wide adoption and translates to practical value in the real world. FRAND licensing is not industry-specific, especially in an era of technology convergence. LES standards are tools for anyone involved in managing, transacting, licensing or generally dealing with IP matters, from the most seasoned licensing professional to those brand new to the practice. Participation provides a dual benefit to participating enterprises and the licensing community: while enhancing the quality and reach of the developed standards, participating members will be exposed to a range of different practices across, and know-how from, different verticals."

Brian Scarpelli: "Our goal is to have broad, open participation by a diverse group of participants to develop a standard that will achieve industry-wide recognition and adoption. We encourage all interested parties to join the LES Standards program and the committee so we can leverage the input of all stakeholders from across verticals, both those familiar with SEP licensing as well as those that are new to the game."

About the LES FRAND Standard Committee Co-Chairs
The committee's co-chairs are LES Standards Program members Matteo Sabattini, director of IP policy at Ericsson, and Brian Scarpelli, senior global policy counsel at ACT | The App Association. Matteo is currently responsible for IP rights policy and advocacy and promotion at standard defining/setting organizations (SDOs/SSOs), industry fora, trade associations, governmental agencies, etc. He has expertise in technology and IP-related matters, and his background combines business, policy and technical skills. Brian is responsible for legal and policy advocacy on a diversity of issues impacting small business software development and high tech companies, including standards, competition, and intellectual property.

Get Involved in the LES FRAND Standard Committee
To become a member of the LES Standards program and FRAND Licensing Standard Committee, visit https://www.lesusacanada.org/page/lesstandards. LES Standards members interested in joining the FRAND Licensing Standard Committee can register on the LES website here and take advantage of Committee activities and meetings. View the LES FRAND Standard Committee members here.

To go back to the LES Standards webpage, click here.

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