Plum has recently completed a detailed report assessing the commercial and economic impacts that could result from important policy changes affecting use of intellectual property in technical standards. These changes were, rather contentiously, adopted by the US based IEEE organisation in 2015, following support from the US Department of Justice. Our report reviews intensive industry debate around the IEEE changes, contrasting with established policy based on so-called fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, that has served the telecommunications industry for many years. We develop economic models to quantify impacts on research and development and consumer welfare, with particular focus on European firms and markets.
Our results indicate that IEEE or similar policy changes have the potential to bring material economic harm to the high technology sector, seen as a critical element and enabler within Europe’s wider digital economy. We recommend that European policy makers are fully briefed on the matters to hand and their implications.