Standardization has become sine quo non not only in the technology industry but also in other industries. The essence of standardization being, a uniformity, it seeks to achieve maximum effectiveness of the product or process in which standardization is to be observed.

What is Standardization?

The process of setting standards that have to be met by every player in the relevant market is called standardization. This is done by either state or private Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs). The standards in devices are set to promote device interoperability and enhance the customer user experience.  Right from 4g, LTE, Wifi, and so on, form an integral part of standards in the information technology and communication industry.

Once invented and put into use these technologies become very essential that all the similar products in that line will have to use these technologies in order to be of effective use to the end-user. These essential inventions are patented by the company that would have spent its bottom dollar on the hopes of bringing back home the bacon! These protected essential patents, when declared as standards, get elevated to the position of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs).

Indian Jurisdiction on Standard Essential Patent Litigation

Perhaps a year back it would not have been incorrect to have told that Indian Jurisdiction in this regard has not yet crossed its nascent stage. However, now after a great amount of evolution to this concept which was brought in by the Delhi High Court (DHC) and the Competition Commission of India (CCI), it is fair enough to say that India has crossed half the sea in this regard.

Clouded Controversy

There was always a question as to whether an SEP holder was justified in terms of jurisdiction to approach the High Court as a petitioner or whether an SEP- Implementer is justified in approaching as an applicant  the Competition Commission of India regarding the same mattershere the former contends that it is purely an Intellectual Property Rights issue and hence approaching the High court is correct in terms of Jurisdiction and contends that the Competition Commission of India cannot entertain such an information filed. On the other hand the SEP-Implementer contends that he is entitled to challenge the abuse of dominant position by the SEP-holder which is essentially governed by the Competition Act, 2002.

Challenges yet to be crossed

Though the position of the jurisdiction is clarified to a great extent possible by the joint efforts of the Competition Commission of India and Delhi High Court, there is still a huge task waiting to be sorted out. The recent vague position about FRAND – Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory terms of licensing Standard Essential Patent requires an assiduous consideration from our Judiciary. If there is a definition of law that regulates the terms of FRAND licensing commitment there can be a lot more good done to the society at large.

Let us wait and watch what happens