Brussels, 18 Nov 2002
The European Commission has granted antitrust clearance to a package aimed at giving third generation (3G) mobile equipment manufacturers better access to patents.
Easier access to patents is crucial to the rapid introduction of 3G mobile services in Europe. In order to produce 3G equipment, manufacturers require access to patents specific to a particular technology. These patents are often referred to as 'essential patents'. A patent specific to one technology may still compete with a patent that is specific to another technology if the two technologies are in competition.
The Commission was therefore charged with ensuring licensing agreements do not hinder competition between essential patents or further research and innovation in the mobile communications sector.
In order to safeguard competition between potentially competing essential 3G patents for different technologies, five separate arrangements for the five different technologies used to manufacture 3G equipment have been agreed.