The State Administration of Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”) officially announced the Provisions on the Prohibition of Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights to Exclude or Restrict Competition (the “Provisions”) on April 13, 2015, which took effective as of August 1, 2015. The Provisions are mainly stipulated to regulate monopoly agreement and abuse of dominant market position specified under the Anti-monopoly Law1 , and to prescribe the detailed regulations for the two types of conducts in the area of intellectual property rights. Also, the Provisions introduce new rules which have not been mentioned in the Anti-monopoly Law, such as the patent pools and the safe harbor rules for horizontal monopoly agreement. During the enactment of the Provisions, the PRC courts, through case proceedings (inter alia Huawei vs. InterDigital), are also trying to clarify some basic issues regarding Standard Essential Patents (“SEPs”) in the intellectual property area to some extent. The court responded to some basic anti-monopoly issues regarding SEPs (e.g. relevant market definition and abusive conducts regarding SEPs), which had several material impacts on the legislation of the Provisions. Reviewing from the promulgated Provisions, many of the clauses under the Provision, such as relevant market definition, are basically consistent with the court’s opinions in the Huawei vs. InterDigital case. This article will analyze the terms of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory principles regarding the SEPs, which are introduced by the Provisions for the first time. SEPs and the Fair, Reasonable and Non-discriminatory Principles (i.e. FRAND Principles) The SAIC stipulates in Article 13 of the Provisions that when exercising the intellectual property rights, the business operators shall not eliminate or restrict competition by means of formulating and implementing standards (including the mandatory requirements of national technical specifications, same below). Business operators having dominant market position, shall not, without justification, carry out the following activities in the course of formulating and implementing the standards to eliminate or restrict competition: when participating in the formulation of the standards, deliberately not disclosing information 1 The Provisions mainly cover six parts: (1) definition of abusing intellectual property rights to exclude or restrict competition, relevant market and other concepts; (2) prohibition of entering into monopoly agreements by exercising the intellectual property rights, and for the first time introduced the safe harbor rule for horizontal monopoly agreements; (3) prohibition of abusing dominant market position by business operators possessing such position during its exercising of intellectual property rights, and of specific activities abusing market dominance; (4) further stipulation on monopoly activities regarding patent pool and standard formulation and implementation; (5) clarification on the analyzing principles and framework for the administrative agencies of industry and commerce’s antimonopoly law enforcement in the field of intellectual property rights; (6) regulations on the applicable administrative penalties for the relevant illegal activities. 2 about its rights to the standard-stipulating organizations, or explicitly waiving its rights, but claiming its patent rights to the implementers of a standard after the standard involves the patent; after the patent has become a SEP, implementing denial of license, conducting tied sale of products, adding other unreasonable transaction conditions in the transaction or implementing other conducts of eliminating or restricting competition, in violation of the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory principles; For the purpose of the Provisions, the “SEPs” refers to the patent which is essential to the implementation of such standards. Despite that the court cited the internationally-accepted FRAND Principles in the Huawei vs. InterDigital case in resolving the disputes regarding SEPs, and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (“MOFCOM”) as well as the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) have also cited such principles as the basis for handling the relevant anti-monopoly investigations and merger control, this is the first time for the legislation authorities to introduce the concept of the SEPs and FRAND Principles. This is the relevant legislation authorities’ response to the various anti-monopoly issues in the area of SEPs, indicating that the PRC legislation authorities have treated SEPs as a critical area of intellectual property rights, and have realized the importance and particularity of the principles for dispute resolution in the area of SEPs. Definition of SEPs and its Relevant Market Standard refers to a type of normative document agreed and approved by the publicly recognized institution and commonly and repeatedly used so as to realize the best order within a specific area. Technical standard refers to one or several requirement(s) that must be met to realize certain production technology2 . Technical standard is in essence the unified technical specifications within certain area. Such technical standard can ensure that repetitive technical matters can be unified within such scope, so as to ensure the interchangeability, compatibility and generality of products or services, and to achieve the purpose of reducing production cost, eliminating the “conversion cost” between manufacturers and consumers, safeguarding the consumers’ rights, and promoting technology advancement. When the standard-stipulating organizations are formulating certain standards, it is inevitable that part or all of the standard will involve patent or patent application due to lack of technologically or commercially substitute technologies. When such patent technology becomes official standard, the implementation of such standard will definitely involve the patent technology contained therein. This is the so called SEPs. SEPs are requisite patents to observe specific industry standard. When manufacturing products within certain industry, if the manufacturer does not comply with such standard or apply such patent, it cannot produce products that comply with the standards. 2 Announcement by the MOFCOM in 2014 No. 24 Announcement of “Anti-Monopoly Review on Concentration of Operators in Approving Microsoft’s Merger of Nokia’s Equipment and Service Business with Additional Restraints”, see: http://fldj.mofcom.gov.cn/article/ztxx/201404/20140400542415.shtml. 3 From the perspective of demand substitutability, the major difference between SEPs and non-SEPs is that, for non-SEPs, products containing such non-SEPs may face fierce competition with products containing other non-SEPs or products without patent. If the licensee fails to obtain certain non-SEPs, it can resort to other licensors or to manufacture substitute products without patent. Therefore, single non-SEP can rarely constitute relevant market under the Anti-monopoly Law. While for SEPs that combine patents and technical standards, when a technical standard adopts a patent technology, turning it into a SEP, the implementation of such technical standard means a simultaneous implementation of such patent technology. Once a patent technology is adopted into the relevant technical standard, the product manufacturers have to use such patent technology so that their products can meet the technical standard. Therefore, the business operator, as the licensee, cannot avoid using such patent technology. The patentee’s refusal of granting any SEPs will cause the licensee’s failure to manufacture products meeting the relevant technical standard, i.e., the patent technology is the unique and indispensable technology to be used by the product manufacturers. Therefore, the patentee becomes the only provider of such SEPs, and there is no substitutes for such SEPs. As a result, a single SEP is usually deemed to constitute the relevant market. Since a SEP held by the patent owner is unique and unsubstitutable in the market of single SEP, the SEP held by the patentee is unique and irreplaceable, it can be regarded as having the entire market share in the relevant market, and in the course of patent licensing, the patentee is deemed to have the ability to control the royalty rate, amount and other transaction conditions when licensing patents. Therefore, in the law enforcement and judicial practice, the patentee of a SEP is usually deemed as possessing the dominant market position. Viewing from the recent internationally influential cases involving SEPs, the judicial and law enforcement agencies of various jurisdictions tend to treat the SEPs as an separate product market. For example, in a SEP case initiated by a manufacturer against Philips for abusing its SEPs in CD-ROM in 2009, the German Federal Supreme Court distinguished Philips’ SEPs in the CD-ROM from the SEPs in other CD products, such as CD-RW, DVD, rewritable mini disk, and etc., and limited the relevant market of this case within the market of such CD-ROM SEPs. Further examples are EU’s investigation on Motorola for its suspected abusing of dominant market position based on SEPs in 2012 (the “Motorola Case”)3 , and EU’s investigation in 2012 arising from Samsung’s applications for injunction against Apple’s products in several courts of the EU member states (the “Samsung vs. Apple Case”), where EU preliminarily ruled that Samsung was suspected of abusing the SEPs. The relevant law enforcement agencies all treat one single SEP as a relevant market, and the patentee possessed dominant market position in such relevant markets. Similarly, in the Huawei vs. InterDigital case, the PRC court ruled that each of InterDigital’s SEP in the 2G, 3G and 4G areas constituted an seperate relevant market, and based on the uniqueness and non-substitutability of such SEPs in the 2G, 3G and 4G areas, the defendant held entire market share of each relevant market of such 3G SEPs and had the power to impede 3 Motorola’s challenged SEPs involve a portion of the GPRS and GSM standards of European Tele-Communications Standardized Institution (ETSI), which is a key industrial standard for mobile and radio communications. When this standard was passed in Europe, Motorola announced to take this as an irreplaceable part of its patents, and committed that it will follow the FRAND Principles to authorize these Standard-Essential Patents. 4 other business operators’ entry into such market. Therefore, the defendant shall be legally deemed as possessing dominant market position in the defined relevant market.4 As disclosed in InterDigital’s Quarterly Report for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2014, InterDigital officially submitted its retrial application to the Supreme People’s Court on April 14, 2014.5 Application of the FRAND Principles Based on the aforementioned law enforcement and judicial background, and combined with the experiences arising from court hearing of cases such as Huawei vs. InterDigital, in the implemented Provisions, the SAIC has included SEPs monopolistic conducts into the scope of abusing dominant market position, and elaborated such abusing conducts as denial of license, conducting tied sale of products, adding other unreasonable transaction conditions in the transaction and other types of abusing conducts, and further stipulated the commonality of the above abusive conducts, i.e. violation of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory principles (the “FRAND Principles”). The FRAND Principles are the licensing principles formed by the major standard-stipulating organizations through long-term practice and gaming in the course of formulating their respective intellectual property policies while trying to encourage their members to disclose their SEPs involved in these standards, so as to balance the interests between the patentees and the implementers of these standards (potential licensees). When formulating the standards, the standard-stipulating organization undertakes that if the standard contains any patent thereof, it will charge the implementers of the standards such patent royalties based on the FRAND Principles. Detailed royalty rates and fees will be separately negotiated and determined by the patentee and the implementers of the standards after the release of such standard, without involvement by the standard-stipulating organizations. FRAND Principles are one of the licensing obligations of its members under the intellectual property rights policies of major standard-stipulating organizations. However, since the FRAND Principles themselves do not have accurate and clear definitions, the meaning of “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” is vague and lack of an effective criteria. For a long time, owners of SEPs and the implementers of the standards can only reach an agreement for detailed licensing arrangements under the guidance of the FRAND Principles. However, since the FRAND Principles, as an abstract policy, remain not clearly defined, the application of the FRAND Principles in practice arise several controversies, as follows: Firstly, since the FRAND Principles are the important feature of the standard-stipulating organizations’ intellectual property rights policies, the owner of the SEPs must make an undertaking of FRAND licensing after its patent has become a standard. The standard-stipulating organizations require the patentee to license its patent that has become a SEP 4 The court of first instance in this case supported definition of relevant market by Huawei, i.e. each Standard-Essential Patent held by the defendant shall constitute an independent relevant market. The court of second instance, Guangdong High People’s Court upheld the definition of the relevant market ruled by the court of the first instance. 5 InterDigital’s Quarterly Report for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2014, source: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1405495/000140549514000017/idcc-20143312014.htm#sC9240CF5F5A 753D656B388B46719C341?sukey=c5da2e84cc454106b3bcdaf7813718d6bd85d7bc9c610374b88fc6132ea26c32f dd06d4aec8f98fa363555e612ef198d 5 based on the principles of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. However, from the perspective of relevant commercial and judicial practice, since the FRAND Principles are highly generalized, while the patent licensing agreements are way more complicated than these principles, the FRAND Principles are deemed as an expression of intension, rather than having such binding effect on the patentee like contractual obligations. Secondly, in commercial licensing, the patent royalty rate is the direct manifestation of whether the licensee is in compliance with the FRAND Principles. Therefore, it has always been a focus for standard-stipulating organizations, patentees, licensees, law enforcement and judicial agencies regarding how to determine the so-called “FRAND royalty rate”. Generally speaking, the royalty rate for a SEP is determined through the reasonable royalty fee calculation method with a comparison with the patent pool. The reasonable royalty fee calculation method shall take into account the value, product margin, R&D cost and other nine factors of such SEPs, while the comparison with the patent pool determines the royalty rate of the SEPs by identifying the applicable scope, patent royalty rate range of such patent pool through analogy. In addition, the court and the law enforcement agencies shall also consider the industry features when dealing with specific cases. For example, the PRC court, in the Huawei vs. InterDigital case, come up with four features of the industry to be considered when adopting the reasonable royalty fee calculation method6 . Although the legislation and law enforcement agencies have made several attempts to determine the royalty rate for SEPs, due to the fact that the fee calculation method contains several referential factors and specific industry features shall also be taken into consideration, there is still no accurate calculation method to determine the royalty rate for the SEPs. It is very hard to calculate out a “FRAND royalty rate” acceptable by all the parties. In practice, certain standard-stipulating organization attempts to quantify the “FRAND royalty rate” by stipulating a cap of the royalty rate for the SEPs. However, the organization members can hardly reach a consensus thereon. Thirdly, patentees might abuse SEP injunctions in patent licensing. SEP injunction is a patent injunction sought by the patentee and to be granted by the court or other relevant departments when the parties cannot reach a consensus in patent licensing. Such injunctions are commonly seen in 337 investigations by the US International Trade Commission, where the US International Trade Commission will issue an injunction to prohibit the sale of the relevant products in the US market. Article 66 of the PRC Patent Law7 has similar effect as injunctions under the US and European laws. In the above SEP related cases, Phillips, Motorola and Samsung, as patentees, have all applied for SEP injunctions against the licensee, or have been sued by the licensee, or have been investigated by the law enforcement agencies regarding anti-monopoly. Since the 6 These four factors are: “consider the average margin level of the radio communication industry in determining the royalty rate of the Standard-Essential Patents for the specific radio communication product; consider the defendant’s declared number of Standard-Essential Patents in the radio communication industry, the quality thereof, R&D investment, so as to ensure that the defendant would receive an appropriate return in proportion to its contribution to the radio communication industry; consider the quantified royalty rate standard adopted in the prior agreements reached by the defendant, such as consider the royalty rate granted by the defendant to Apple, Samsung and other companies; consider the fact that the plaintiff only requested for Standard-Essential Patents from the defendant in China, rather than internationally.” 7 Article 66 of the PRC Patent Law provides “where any patentee or interested party has evidence to prove that another person is infringing or will soon infringe its or his patent right and that if such infringing act is not timely stopped, it is likely to cause irreparable harm to it, it may, before any legal proceedings are instituted, request the people's court to adopt measures for ordering the suspension of relevant acts.” 6 abuse of SEP injunctions has the most direct negative effects, and has huge power to exclude competition and directly exclude the same type of products manufactured by the competitors from the relevant market, it has become a focus of the anti-monopoly institutions. The MOFCOM added a restrictive condition regarding SEP injunction in its Announcement on the Anti-monopoly Review Decision on Conditional Approval of Concentration of Undertakings Regarding Microsoft's Acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services Business that “with regard to the SEPs applied to the smart phone, stipulated by industry standards and committed by Microsoft to the standard-stipulating organizations (SSOs) to offer license under FRAND Principles, Microsoft shall not seek injunctions or exclusion orders against smart phones manufactured by Chinese smart phone manufacturers.” This indicates that the PRC anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies have been focusing on this issue in their long-term practice. In the NDRC’s decision on suspension of investigation against InterDigital’s abusing of its SEPs, the law enforcement agency required InterDigital to withdraw the complaint or lawsuits for seeking an injunction against Huawei according to the PRC court decision and the agreement between the parties, and required InterDigital to negotiate with ZTE to resolve on an arbitration plan and withdraw the complaint and other lawsuits filed with US International Trade Commission. The suspension decision required InterDigital to seek prompt and binding arbitration prior to its application for import prohibition or injunction against the Chinese communication device manufacturers. And if an arbitration has been resolved between the parties, InterDigital shall stop from seeking injunctions. Although the application of FRAND Principles is still controversial, the patentee, when participating into the standard-stipulating organization, shall commit to grant its SEPs to the organization members in accordance with the FRAND Principles. Therefore, such principles have become a common thread among the patentees and licensees throughout the SEP licensing process. The laws and judicial practices in the major jurisdictions have also adopted FRAND Principles as one of their ruling basis. For example, the United States promulgated the Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments in 2013, the European Union referred to the FRAND Principles in its recent anti-monopoly investigations against Motorola and Samsung. Although there is no expressed concept of the FRAND Principles in the PRC laws, according to the PRC Patent Law and the relevant cases of the PRC courts, the patentees shall also comply with the FRAND Principles. The Supreme People’s Court ruled in 2008 that the royalty for the SEPs shall be “substantially lower than the normal royalty”. And in 2014, the Supreme People’s Court expressly ruled in a case that “to implement such standard, one shall obtain license from the patentee and pay royalty in accordance with the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory principles.” Specific Regulations regarding FRAND Principles The Provisions list several abusive conducts in violation of the FRAND Principles, such as denial of license, conducting tied sale of products, adding other unreasonable transaction conditions in the transaction, and etc. Denial of license refers to an enterprise’s denial of selling or licensing to its competitors, or selling or licensing at an extremely high price. In practice, the patentee requires the licensee to accept bundle license of SEPs and non-SEPs, and states in their offer that the licensees are not entitled to choose the patent type, territory, rates and other contents of the 7 offer. Such rigorous restraints set forth by the patentee are in fact conducts of refusal to transaction in violation of the FRAND Principles. In the licensing of certain SEPs, the patentee requires the licensee to accept a tied sale of effective SEPs with those invalid SEPs and even invalid non-SEPs. Such conducts constitute tied sale of SEPs without justifiable reasons. Free reverse licensing is a typical manifestation of adding unreasonable transaction conditions. During the negotiation of SEP licenses, the patentee, taking advantage of its superior position in patent licensing, requires the licensee to also license the patent held thereby to the patentee free of charge, in addition to the licensee’s payment of royalty. Such conducts constitute forcing the licensee to accept unreasonable transaction conditions by taking advantage of the patentee’s market dominant position. The Missing “Safe Harbor” As discussed above, the Provisions stipulated the factors to be analyzed in SEP cases and specific abusive conducts. However, all such abusive conducts such as denial of license, tied sale, adding other unreasonable transaction conditions such as free reverse licensing have increased cost and other burden on the licensee, and thus can be deemed as “unfair and unreasonable”, which have been already covered and prohibited by the existing Anti-monopoly Law. The Provisions fail to stipulate anything regarding abuse of SEP injunctions commonly seen in the European and US SEPs cases or remedies available to the licensee. Especially under the background that activities of abusing SEP injunctions have become a key focus of the MOFCOM in its announcements, and the NDRC has required the respondent not to abuse injunction remedies, undoubtedly there still exists something unsatisfactory about the Provisions for its failure to stipulate clauses regarding the licensee’s remedies when facing SEP injunctions or the relevant safe harbor clauses. Based on the above analysis of SEPs and application of the FRAND Principles, if the patented technology of a SEP held by the patentee is unique, and the patentee fails to license it in compliance with the FRAND Principles, it is very likely to adversely affect the market. Potential abuse of SEP injunctions may arise when the patentee seeks for SEP injunctions due to the licensee’s refusal of the patentee’s offer for SEP license in violation of the FRAND Principles. For example, the Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments jointly issued by the US Department of Justice and Patent and Trademark Office analyzed whether the patentee can get remedy through injunction and the consequent adverse effects thereof. This indicates that the US anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies adopt a prudent review principle in granting SEP injunctions. The European Union Commission clearly points out in its memorandum regarding investigation on the Samsung vs. Apple Case and the Motorola Case that “it is anti-competition to seek for SEP injunctions under the following circumstance: where the holder of the SEP has committed to the FRAND licensing terms, and the licensee is willing to comply with such terms. It will torture the negotiation if a SEP injunction is sought at this time, and thus cause adverse effect on the licensing terms regarding the consumers’ choice and price.” The memorandum further establishes a “safe harbor rule” for the willing licensees of the SEPs, which ensures that the licensees of the SEPs who satisfy the above condition can be safe from the threat of patent injunctions. This “safe harbor rule” can be summarized as: a willing licensee can be exempted from injunctions by showing that 8 is willing to be bound by a FRAND-based court judgment or arbitration award rendered by the arbitration institution agreed by the parties. The preliminary requirement for applying the safe harbor rule for SEPs is to determine the criteria for determining a willing licensee. According to the European Union Commission’s explanation in the Motorola Case and the Samsung vs. Apple Case, the standard for determining a willing licensee shall be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. In the investigations of the above two cases, the European Union Commission held that, if the relevant company involved in the dispute was willing to be bound by a FRAND-based decision rendered by the court or the arbitration institution agreed by the parties, such company shall be deemed as a willing licensee who satisfied the safe harbor rule requirements; in the meantime, a licensee’s challenging of the effectiveness, necessity and other issues of a SEP does not mean “unwillingness”. If the patentee applies for a SEP injunction based on the licensee’s challenges mentioned-above, it is very likely to constitute abuse of SEP injunction. The case of the MOFCOM’s investigation on Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s device and service business sector also involves determination of a “willing licensee”. In Nokia’s commitment submitted to the MOFCOM, one of the conditions to constitute the “willing licensee” is that “such party is willing to submit the disputes arising from whether the Nokia’s offered licensing terms are inconsistent with Nokia’s FRAND obligations to an independent arbitration institution reasonably accepted by the parties without unreasonable delay, and such party is willing to be bound by such arbitration award, to enter into a FRAND licensing agreement based on the arbitration award, and to pay the arbitrated compensation and FRAND licensing fee according to the arbitration award or arising from the FRAND licensing agreement”, i.e., the licensee’s willingness to accept the judicial decisions may assist the law enforcement agencies to identify it as a “willing licensee”. In the final decision announcement issued by the MOFCOM, the MOFCOM accepts Nokia’s proposed criteria for determining a “willing licensee”, and requires that Nokia shall not interfere the implementation of the standards with FRAND commitments by seeking injunctions, unless the patentee has offered licensing terms in compliance with the FRAND Principles, but the potential licensee fails to willingly execute the FRAND license and comply with the terms thereto. As mentioned above, in the practice of commercial licensing, the parties may have disagreements over licensing terms, mainly regarding the determination of a SEP royalty rate that complies with the FRAND Principles, which shall take into consideration several factors such as the SEP’s value, product margin, R&D cost and etc. Therefore, the calculation thereof is quite difficult. Under such circumstances, the law enforcement agencies shall not only support the patentees of the SEPs to obtain reasonable royalty through appropriate means, but also prevent the patentees of the SEPs from impeding competition by resorting to relevant injunctions. It is worth noting that the establishment of the safe harbor rule for SEPs is not a challenge against the SEP patentees’ use of patent injunctions, but instead, to provide the licensees with a “willing licensee” defense while keeping the SEP injunctions. Therefore, the establishment of the safe harbor rule does not deny the patentees’ right of using patent injunctions. 9 The establishment of the safe harbor rule to prevent abuse of injunctions will set up a safety cushion for the willing licensees in their seek for SEP licensing, and will also provide a relatively detailed legal guidance to the patentees and licensees’ licensing activities, i.e., on the one hand protects the patentees’ rights to obtain patent royalties, and on the other hand prevent the SEP patentees from abusing the injections by taking advantage of their market dominant positions. Therefore, we believe that the PRC legislative agencies’ promulgation of the Provisions as well as the aimed introduction of the “willing licensee” principle in the relevant legal instruments based on the current research to promote fair implementation of SEPs, will further create a market environment with positive competition for technology advancement and product market diversity. Above all, although the Provisions provided preliminary explanation for various issues that the judicial and law enforcement agencies encountered during their anti-monopoly activities in the intellectual property area, the Provisions have very limited restrictions on the judicial and other anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies due to the fact that the Provisions is only a department rule issued by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce in the area of intellectual property anti-monopoly, and regulations regarding price monopoly in intellectual property remain unavailable. Due to the growing number of anti-monopoly cases in the intellectual property area, there is an urgent need for laws and regulations regarding intellectual property anti-monopoly. Law enforcement agencies including the NDRC have set abuse of intellectual property as one of their upcoming enforcement targets8 . Anyways, the Provisions have made a positive attempt in the anti-monopoly legislations by regulating the horizontal monopoly and abusive conducts in the intellectual property area. The Provisions provide the agencies of the administration of industry and commerce the legal basis for their future practice in intellectual property anti-monopoly, and will have guiding significance thereof. This article is only a general analysis based on our understanding of PRC laws and legal practice, without constituting any legal opinion on any specific practice or legal issue. If you would like to know more, please contact Mr. Li bo, Partner at our law firm directly. Contact Information: Li Bo Direct Line: +8610 85131818 Fax Number: +8610 85131919 E-mail: email@example.com 8 Head of the Anti-Monopoly Bureau, the NDRC: Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights will be the New Target for Law Enforcement, source: http://ip.people.com.cn/n/2015/0324/c179663-26740639.html. 10 标准必要专利与 FRAND 原则的适用 ——简评《关于禁止滥用知识产权排除、限制竞争行为的规定》 国家工商总局于 2015 年 4 月 13 日正式公布《关于禁止滥用知识产权排除、限制竞争行为的 规定》（《规定》），该《规定》自 2015 年 8 月 1 日起生效施行。《规定》的内容9以《反垄断 法》中的垄断协议与滥用市场支配地位为主要框架，详细规定了这两种行为在知识产权领域 的表现，并且对《反垄断法》的空白领域引入了新的规定，如专利联营与横向垄断协议的安 全港原则。 在《规定》制定的同时，我国法院也通过审理相关案件，特别是华为诉美国交互数字公司一 案，试图在一定程度上厘清知识产权领域标准必要专利中的基本问题。法院在案件审理过程 中对标准必要专利领域反垄断的一些基本问题（如相关市场界定与滥用标准必要专利的行 为）作出了回应。法院的回应对《规定》产生了诸多影响，从所颁布的《规定》看，其中诸 如相关市场界定的许多条款与该案中法院的许多观点基本保持一致。 本文将对《规定》中首次纳入的有关标准必要专利许可的公平、合理和无歧视原则的条款进 行解析。 标准必要专利与公平、合理和无歧视原则（Fair Reasonable and Non-discriminatory, 即 FRAND 原则） 工商总局在《规定》的第十三条中规定：经营者不得在行使知识产权的过程中，利用标准（含 国家技术规范的强制性要求，下同）的制定和实施从事排除、限制竞争的行为。 具有市场支配地位的经营者没有正当理由，不得在标准的制定和实施过程中实施下列排除、 限制竞争行为： （一）在参与标准制定的过程中，故意不向标准制定组织披露其权利信息，或者明确放弃其 权利，但是在某项标准涉及该专利后却对该标准的实施者主张其专利权； （二）在其专利成为标准必要专利后，违背公平、合理和无歧视原则，实施拒绝许可、搭售 商品或者在交易时附加其他的不合理交易条件等排除、限制竞争的行为； 本规定所称标准必要专利，是指实施该项标准所必不可少的专利。 虽然中国法院此前在华为公司诉美国交互数字公司案中就援引国际通行的公平、合理和无歧 视原则处理标准必要专利领域的冲突，并且中国商务部与国家发展和改革委员会在相关调查 和经营者集中案件中也援引了此原则作为处理依据，但立法机关却是首次在法规中引入了标 准必要专利与公平、合理和无歧视原则的概念，这是有关立法机关对诸多标准必要专利领域 9 《规定》主要规定了六个方面的内容：一、界定了滥用知识产权排除、限制竞争的垄断行为和相关市场 等的概念；二、禁止经营者之间通过行使知识产权的方式达成垄断协议，并首次设置了横向垄断协议领域 的安全港原则”；三、禁止具有市场支配地位的经营者在行使知识产权的过程中滥用市场支配地位，对具体 滥用行为做了禁止性规定；四、对专利联营和标准制定与实施中的垄断行为做出进一步规定；五、明确工 商机关在知识产权领域反垄断执法的分析原则和框架；六、对有关违法行为适用的行政处罚做出规定。 11 反垄断问题的回应，表明目前我国的立法机关将标准必要专利视为知识产权领域的重点领 域，认识到标准必要专利领域纠纷处理原则的重要性和特殊性。 标准必要专利的定义及其相关市场 标准是指为在一定的范围内获得最佳秩序，经协商一致制定并由公认机构批准，共同使用的 和重复使用的一种规范性文件。技术标准是指对一个或几个生产技术设立的必须得符合要求 的条件。10技术标准实质上是一种在相关领域内统一的技术规范，这种技术规范能保障重复 性的技术事项在该范围内得到统一，以保证产品或服务的互换性、兼容性和通用性，以实现 降低生产成本、消除生产者与消费者“转换成本”、并保障消费者权益、促进技术进步的目的。 当标准化组织在制定某些标准时，部分或全部标准由于技术上或商业上没有其他可替代技 术，无可避免的要涉及到专利或专利申请。当这样的专利技术成为正式标准后，实施该标准 时必然要涉及到其中含有的专利技术就是所谓的“标准必要专利（” standards-essential patents， SEPs）。标准必要专利是实现特定行业标准必须的专利。制造商在生产行业内产品时，如果 不遵循该标准，适用该专利就无法制造出符合标准的产品。 从需求替代性的角度来看，标准必要专利与非标准必要专利之间的差别主要是，对于非标�� 必要专利而言，包含该非标准必要专利的产品可能与包含其他非标准必要专利的产品或无专 利的产品存在激烈的竞争，被许可人如果无法获得某个非标准必要专利，可以转向其他许可 人或生产不包含专利的替代产品，因此单个非标准必要专利很少能够构成反垄断法上的相关 市场。而对于将专利与技术标准结合的标准必要专利而言，当技术标准采用专利技术，从而 使该专利技术成为标准必要专利以后，实施技术标准就意味着同时要实施该专利技术。一旦 专利技术被纳入相关的技术标准，产品的制造商为了使产品符合技术标准就不得不使用该专 利技术。因此，作为被许可人的经营者无法规避，如果专利权人拒绝许可任何一个标准必要 专利，都将导致被许可人无法生产符合相关技术标准的产品，即该专利技术是产品的制造商 唯一且必须要使用的技术，于是专利权人成为该必要专利许可市场的唯一供给方，相关标准 必要专利不存在替代技术方案。因此单个标准必要专利往往被视为可以单独构成相关市场。 由于在单个标准必要专利市场中，专利权人持有的标准必要专利是唯一且不可替代的，因此 可视为专利权人在相关市场内拥有全部市场份额，而且在专利许可过程中，专利权人具备控 制专利费率、数量及其他交易条件的能力，鉴于此，在执法、司法实践中标准必要专利的专 利权人往往被认定为具备市场支配地位。 从近几年在国际上出现了关于标准必要专利的许多影响较大的案件来看，各国的司法和执法 机关倾向于将标准必要专利视为单独的产品市场。例如，2009 年一家生产商起诉飞利浦公 司滥用其在可记录光盘中标准必要专利的案件中，德国联邦最高法院将飞利浦公司在可记录 光盘中的标准必要专利与其他光盘产品的标准必要专利，如可覆写光盘、DVD 光盘、可写 录多次的迷你光盘等产品的标准必要专利区分，将该案涉及的相关市场仅限于可记录光盘标 准必要专利市场。再如，2012 年欧盟委员会对摩托罗拉涉嫌基于标准必要专利滥用市场支 配地位行为的调查（“摩托罗拉案”）11以及 2012 年欧盟委员会对三星公司在多个欧盟成员 10 商务部公告 2014 年第 24 号“关于附加限制性条件批准微软收购诺基亚设备和服务业务案经营者集中反 垄断审查决定的公告”，参见 http://fldj.mofcom.gov.cn/article/ztxx/201404/20140400542415.shtml。 11摩托罗拉被质疑的标准必要专利涉及到欧洲电信标准化协会（ETSI） GPRS、GSM 标准的一部分，这是 一个移动和无线通信关键的行业标准。当这个标准在欧洲通过时，摩托罗拉宣布其部分专利为必不可少的， 并且给出承诺，宣布将按照 FRAND 原则来授权这些标准必要专利。 12 国的法院对苹果公司产品申请禁令的行为展开调查（“三星苹果案”），并初步裁决三星公司 涉嫌滥用标准必要专利的案件中，执法机关均将单个标准必要专利视为单个相关市场，而且 专利权人在各个相关市场中均具备市场支配地位。类似的，在中国华为公司诉美国交互数字 公司案中，我国法院认定交互数字公司在 2G、3G、4G 领域中持有的每个标准必要专利均 构成一个独立的相关市场，基于上述 2G、3G 领域中每一个必要专利的唯一性和不可替代性， 被告方在 3G 标准中的每一个必要专利许可市场均拥有完全的份额，具有阻碍或影响其他经 营者进入相关市场的能力。因此，应依法认定被告方在所界定的相关市场中具有市场支配地 位。12根据交互数字公司截至 2014 年 3 月 31 日的季度报告中披露的信息，交互数字公司已 于 2014 年 4 月 14 日就此案正式向最高法院提交再审申请。13 FRAND 原则的适用 在上述执法和司法背景下，结合国内法院审理华为诉交互数字案等经验，工商总局在出台的 《规定》中将标准必要专利的垄断行为归纳入滥用市场支配地位范畴中，而且对滥用行为明 确为拒绝许可、搭售商品或交易时附加不合理条件等几种类型的滥用行为，并且规定了上述 滥用行为的共性，即违背公平、合理和无歧视原则（FRAND 原则）。 FRAND 原则是国际上的主要标准化组织在制定各自的知识产权政策，尽可能鼓励成员披露 标准中涉及到的必要专利的过程中，在长期的实践博弈中形成的许可原则，用以平衡专利权 人和标准实施者（潜在被许可人）的利益。标准化组织成员在制定标准时承诺，如果标准中 含有自己的专利，将按照 FRAND 原则向标准实施者收取专利许可费用。具体许可费用和许 可费率，在标准发布后由专利权人与标准实施者单独谈判确定，标准化组织不参与其中。 FRAND 原则是各大标准化组织知识产权政策中本组织成员单位需要履行的许可义务之一。 然而，由于 FRAND 原则本身没有准确、清晰的定义，致使“公平、合理与无歧视”的含义模 糊不清、缺乏有效判断标准，一直以来标准必要专利权人和标准实施者仅能在 FRAND 原则 的指导下，通过具体许可谈判达成一致。但在 FRAND 原则作为抽象的政策，其具体含义未 得到明确的情况下，在实践中 FRAND 原则的适用也存在着诸多争议，主要包括以下几点： 第一，由于 FRAND 原则是标准组织知识产权政策的重要内容，标准必要专利权人需要在其 专利成为标准后作出 FRAND 许可承诺，标准组织要求专利权人根据公平、合理与非歧视原 则许可其成为标准的专利。不过，从商业实践和司法机关实践看，由于 FRAND 原则本身过 于概括，而专利许可协议比该原则复杂得多，因此认为 FRAND 原则是一种意愿的表达，而 对专利权人不具有类似合同的约束力。 第二，商业许可过程中，专利许可费率是被许可人是否遵循 FRAND 原则的直接体现，因而 如何确定所谓“FRAND 许可费率”一直是标准组织、专利权人、被许可人和执法、司法机关 所关注和处理的核心问题。一般而言，标准必要专利的许可费率采取计算合理许可费方法和 专利池比较法获得。计算合理许可费方法需要考虑到标准必要专利的价值、产品的利润率、 标准必要专利的研发成本等九项因素，而专利池比较法需要通过类比的方式确定专利池的适 12此案一审法院深圳中院支持原告华为公司的相关市场界定,认为被告所持有的各个标准必要专利构成单独 的相关市场。广东省高院在二审中同样支持了一审法院关于相关市场界定的认定意见。 13 交互数字公司截至 2014 年 3 月 31 日的季度报告 ， 来 源 ： http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1405495/000140549514000017/idcc-20143312014.htm#sC9240CF5F5A 753D656B388B46719C341?sukey=c5da2e84cc454106b3bcdaf7813718d6bd85d7bc9c610374b88fc6132ea26c32f dd06d4aec8f98fa363555e612ef198d 13 用范围、专利池专利费率幅度等进行确定标准必要专利许可费率。此外，法院与执法机关在 具体案件中也需要考虑行业特点，如中国法院在华为诉美国交互数字公司案中运用计算合理 许可费方法时提出应考虑的四项行业参考因素14。虽然立法机关和执法机关对标准必要专利 费率确定进行了诸多尝试，但由于费率确定方法包含多种参考因素，而且需要结合不同的行 业特点，因此标准必要专利的许可费用一直无法找到精确的衡量计算工具。实际计算出各方 认可的“FRAND 费率”十分困难。实践中，有标准组织试图规定标准必要专利许可费率的上 限来量化 FRAND 许可费率，但往往参与组织的各方无法就此达成共识。 第三，专利许可人在许可过程中滥用标准必要专利禁令。标准必要专利禁令是标准必要专利 许可人在许可过程中由于无法达成一致而寻求法院或相关部门颁布的专利禁令。常见于美国 国际贸易委员会开展的 337 调查中，对认定侵权的外国进口产品，美国国际贸易委员会以颁 布禁令的方式禁止涉案产品在美国市场的销售。我国《专利法》第六十六条15的效果与欧美 法律上禁令类似。在涉及标准必要专利的上述案件中，飞利浦公司、摩托罗拉公司、三星公 司作为专利权利人均是对被许可人提起了标准必要专利禁令，或遭到被许可人提起诉讼或遭 到执法机关发起的反垄断调查。由于标准必要专利禁令不当使用的负面影响最为直接，排除 竞争的威力也最巨大，能够将竞争者生产的同类产品直接排除在相关市场竞争之外，因而也 最受到反垄断机构的关注。中国商务部在《关于附加限制性条件批准微软收购诺基亚设备和 服务业务案经营者集中反垄断审查决定的公告》中附加了关于标准必要专利禁令的限制性要 求：“微软对于智能手机中实施的为行业标准所必要的，同时微软已向标准制定组织（SSOs） 作出承诺会以 FRAND 条件提供许可的标准必要专利，不寻求针对中国境内智能手机制造企 业所制造的智能手机禁令或排除令。”这表明我国反垄断执法机关已经在实践中长期关注这 一问题。在中国国家发展和改革委员会对交互数字公司滥用标准必要专利调查的调查中止决 定书中，执法机关要求交互数字公司根据中国法院判决以及双方协议撤销寻求对华为公司颁 布禁令的投诉或诉讼，要求交互数字公司与中兴公司商讨仲裁方案并撤销在美国国际贸易委 员会的投诉和其他诉讼。中止决定要求交互数字在对中国通讯设备制造商提起禁止进口或禁 令救济之前，寻求快速而有约束力的仲裁，如双方达成仲裁，应停止寻求禁令救济。 虽然 FRAND 原则的适用存在争议，但是专利权人在加入标准组织时必须承诺将其标准必要 专利以 FRAND 原则许可给标准组织的其他成员使用。因此该原则也成为贯穿专利权人与被 许可人在标准必要专利许可过程的主线。各主要司法辖区的法律与司法实践也将 FRAND 原 则纳入其审理案件的依据，如美国在 2013 年颁布了《FRAND 义务下的标准必要专利救济 政策声明》，欧盟在最近对摩托罗拉和三星的反垄断调查中均援引了 FRAND 原则。虽然中 国法律并不存在 FRAND 原则的明确概念，但是依据我国《专利法》以及中国法院的相关案 例，专利权人也应当遵守 FRAND 原则。2008 年最高法院确立了标准必要专利许可费应“明 显低于正常的许可使用费”，2014 年最高人民法院在案件判决中也明确了“实施该标准，应 当取得专利许可人的许可，根据公平合理非歧视的原则，支付许可费用” 14 这四项因素分别是：“考虑无线通信行业大致获利水平，以确定特定无线通信产品中应支付标准必要专利 许可使用费比例；考虑被告方在无线通信领域所声明标准必要专利数量、质量情况、研发投入等，以保障 被告方获得与其在无线通信技术领域之贡献相适应回报；参考被告方之前已达成协议并收取可量化使用费 率标准，比如参考被告方已授权给苹果、三星等公司许可使用费率；考量原告只要求被告方在中国标准必 要专利授权许可，而不是被告方在全球范围标准必要专利授权许可。” 15我国《专利法》第六十六条规定：专利权人或者利害关系人有证据证明他人正在实施或者即将实施侵犯 专利权的行为，如不及时制止将会使其合法权益受到难以弥补的损害的，可以在起诉前向人民法院申请采 取责令停止有关行为的措施。 14 与 FRAND 原则有关的具体规定 《规定》中列举了拒绝许可、搭售商品或交易时附加不合理条件等违反 FRAND 原则的滥用 行为。拒绝许可是指一个企业从不对其竞争对手进行出卖或许可或以特别髙的价格进行出卖 或许可。在实践中，专利权人要求被许可人接受标准必要专利与非标准必要专利打包进行许 可，并在要约中声明被许可人无权选择专利种类、地域和费率等要约内容。专利权人所设置 苛刻的条件，实际上是属于违反 FRAND 原则的拒绝交易行为。在某些标准必要专利许可过 程中，专利权人将生效的标准必要专利与失效的标准必要专利甚至是失效的非标准必要专利 进行捆绑搭售，要求被许可人接受。这种情形则构成了没有正当理由对标准必要专利进行搭 售。免费反向许可则是附加不合理交易条件的典型情况。在标准必要专利谈判中，专利权人 利用在许可过程中的优势地位，要求被许可人在向其支付专利费用同时对其免费许可被许可 人持有的专利，利用其市场优势地位强迫被许可人接受不合理的交易条件。 缺失的“安全港” 如上所述，《规定》明确了标准必要专利案件中的分析要件以及具体滥用行为，但是无论是 拒绝许可、搭售还是无偿反向许可等附加不合理条件，均增加了被许可人的成本与其他负担， 可视为“不公平、不合理”，已有的《反垄断法》法规足以规制上述行为。对于在欧美标准必 要专利案件中经常被专利权人滥用的标准必要专利禁令以及对被许可人的救济却未作出任 何规定，特别是商务部已经在其公告中高度关注滥用相关禁令行为、国家发展和改革委员会 在相关调查中要求被调查人作出不滥用禁令救济的情形下，《规定》仍然缺少对于被许可人 在面对标准必要专利禁令时的救济以及安全港条款，无疑是其所不尽如人意之处。 基于上述对标准必要专利和 FRAND 原则适用的分析，标准必要专利专利权人在其专利技术 具备唯一性的情况下，如果不遵循 FRAND 原则进行许可，很可能对市场产生明显的不利影 响。专利权人因被许可人拒绝专利权人违反 FRAND 原则的标准必要专利许可要约而寻求标 准必要专利禁令，则有可能涉嫌滥用其标准必要专利。例如，美国司法部与专利商标局联合 发布的《FRAND 义务下的标准必要专利救济政策声明》中分析了专利权人能否通过禁令方 式获得救济，并分析了这一行为可能带来的负面影响，这表明美国反垄断执法机关对于标准 必要专利禁令的发放持谨慎审查的原则。欧盟委员会在其对三星苹果案和摩托罗拉案的调查 备忘中明确指出：“下述情况寻求标准必要专利禁令是反竞争的：标准必要专利持有人承诺 FRAND 授权条款，且被许可人愿意遵循上述条款。此时寻求禁令会扭曲专利许可谈判，并 导致许可条款对消费者选择和价格产生负面影响”，并为标准必要专利的“善意被许可人” （Willing Licensee）确立了“安全港原则”，使得符合该条件的标准必要专利被许可人免于被 遭受专利禁令的威胁。该“安全港原则”可简单叙述为善意被许可人可以通过证明其愿意遵循 基于 FRAND 基础之上法院裁判或双方同意的仲裁机构作出的裁决，免于被寻求禁令。 标准必要专利安全港原则适用的首要条件便是确定善意被许可人的认定标准。根据欧盟委员 会在摩托罗拉案和三星苹果案中的解释，善意被许可人的确定标准需要进行个案分析。在上 述两起案件的调查中，欧盟委员会认为如果处于相关纠纷中的企业愿意接受已经由法院或者 双方同意的仲裁机构依据 FRAND 条款作出的决定并愿意遵循这样的约束，该企业应被视 为善意被许可人，符合安全港的适用条件；同时被许可人质疑标准必要专利有效性、必要性 等问题，并不意味着其“非善意”，如果专利权人基于被许可人的质疑而提起标准必要专利禁 令，则很可能被认为构成滥用标准必要专利禁令。 15 中国商务部调查微软收购诺基亚设备和服务业务案件过程中也涉及对“善意被许可人”的判 断。在诺基亚向商务部提交的承诺中提出构成“善意被许可人”条件之一是“一方在没有不合 理拖延的情况下，愿意就有关诺基亚提出的许可条件是否与诺基亚承担的 FRAND 义务不一 致而可能引起的争议交由双方均可合理接受的独立裁决机构解决，愿意受该裁决约束，基于 该裁决结果订立 FRAND 许可协议，并支付任何基于该裁决结果和协议可能产生的裁定赔偿 和 FRAND 许可费”，即被许可人愿意接受司法裁决的意思表示可以协助执法机关将其认定 为“善意被许可人”。在中国商务部最终颁布的决定公告中，商务部接受了诺基亚关于善意许 可人的认定标准，要求诺基亚不能通过禁令阻止附有 FRAND 承诺的标准的实施，除非专利 权人已经提供了符合 FRAND 原则的许可条件，而潜在被许可人却没有善意签订 FRAND 许 可并遵守这些许可条款。 如上文所述，商业许可实践中，各方对许可条款意见存在分歧，主要是对符合 FRAND 原则 的标准必要专利许可费率存在分歧。符合 FRAND 原则的标准必要专利许可费率是需要综合 考虑标准必要专利价值、产品利润率以及专利开发成本等多种因素，因此十分难以计算。在 这样的情况下，执法机关既要支持标准必要专利权人通过合适的方式获得合理的许可费率， 也要防止标准必要专利权人通过相关禁令妨碍竞争。 值得注意的是，标准必要专利安全港原则的确立并不意味着对标准必要专利权利人使用专利 禁令的行为产生质疑，而是在保留标准必要专利禁令的前提下，为被许可人提供“善意被许 可人”这一抗辩理由。因此，安全港原则的确立并未否认专利持有人使用专利禁令的权利。 用以防范禁令滥用的安全港原则的确立，将为善意被许可人在寻求标准必要专利许可过程中 设立了一道安全防线，也为专利权人和许可人的许可行为提供了较为明确的法律指引，即一 方面保护专利权人获得专利费用的权利，另一方面避免标准必要专利专利权人利用市场支配 地位实施滥用禁令行为。因此，我们认为中国的立法机关通过《规定》的颁布在现有探索的 基础上，通过在相关法律文件中有针对性地引入“善意许可人”原则，促进公平适用标准必要 专利，进而将为技术进步以及产品市场的多样化创造附有良性竞争的市场环境。 综上，虽然《规定》的条款对此前司法机关与执法机关在知识产权领域执行反垄断工作时所 遇到诸多问题进行了初步解释，但由于工商总局所出台的知识产权反垄断领域规则属于部门 规章，对于司法机关和其他反垄断执法机关的约束力非常有限，并且《规定》的适用范围仅 限于工商总局所管辖的非价格垄断行为领域，针对知识产权领域价格垄断行为的相关规定仍 然是空白。由于知识产权领域反垄断案件不断增加，对于知识产权反垄断法律法规的需求愈 发迫切，包括发改委在内执法机关也将滥用知识产权行为作为下一个执法目标16。无论如何， 《规定》对知识产权领域横向垄断、滥用行为的规范是反垄断立法领域的一次有益的尝试， 工商机关在此后的知识产权反垄断实践便有了法律依据，对工商机关今后在知识产权法领域 的反垄断执法实践具有指导意义。 本文是基于我们对中国法律的理解以及对中国司法实践的了解所做出的概括性分析，不构成 对任何具体实务或法律事务的法律意见。如果您想对本期文章所涉内容有更深入了解，请随 时与我所的合伙人李博律师联系。 16《国家发改委反垄断局长：执法新目标将是知识产权滥用》，来源： http://ip.people.com.cn/n/2015/0324/c179663-26740639.html 16 联系方式： 李博 直线：+8610 85131818 传真：+8610 85131919 电子邮箱：firstname.lastname@example.org
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Application of Standard Essential Patents and FRAND Principles - brief comments on the Provisions on the Prohibition of Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights to Exclude or Restrict Competition
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