Pressure on US lawmakers to restrict sales bans where essential patents are involved

13 Jul 2012

At a hearing in the US, government officials have put the case before lawmakers that sales bans against manufacturers for patent infringement should be only be granted rarely where key patents required in the manufacture of smartphones, tablets and other devices are concerned.

A wave of infringement cases is ongoing in the US, and the point is being argued that some of these cases are based on essential patents, ie, features and technology that are required for production of these devices.

For example, the current case between Motorola Mobility against Microsoft with regard to the Xbox 360 concerns patents that standard-setting bodies have deemed essential to a video standard.

There are no rules set in stone for essential patents, but it is generally expected that they would be licensed to all manufacturers on reasonable terms.

Microsoft, Apple and Qualcomm have all lobbied on the issue, Reuters reports.

Justice image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.