CapitolPatent assertions by non-practicing entities have been garnering much of the patent-related attention on Capitol Hill, but standard-essential patents are also in the mix.  Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights is scheduled to have a hearing on “Standard Essential Patent Disputes and Antitrust Law.”  The hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, July 30 at 10:00am, in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and subcommittee Chairman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will preside.

The prepared testimony of the witnesses is not available yet, but some of the issues likely to be addressed may include the FTC’s recent consent decree with Google, the potential antitrust implications of exclusionary relief as a remedy for standard-essential patent infringement (such as in the recent Samsung-Apple ITC decision), and maybe even antitrust concerns raised by SEP acquisitions by non-practicing entities.  The witnesses scheduled to testify include a mix of industry, government, and SSO professionals, including:

  • A. Douglas Melamed, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Intel Corp.
  • Donald J. Rosenberg, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Qualcomm
  • Suzanne Munck, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property & Deputy Director of the Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission
  • John D. Kulick, Ph.D., Chair of the Standards Association Board, The Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

If you find yourself in the DC area and want to attend, make sure you get there a couple hours early, as this hearing is likely to draw quite a crowd.  Fortunately, the hearing will also be webcast from the Senate Judiciary’s web site.  We’ll be watching, and will check in after the hearing with any notable quotes or issues raised.