Tag Archives: Innovation

[SpicyIP Cross-Post] Innovation in the time of SEPs & FRAND licensing

This post first appeared on SpicyIP, here. (Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/hoAtp)

In the last few years, smartphone manufacturers have seemingly been as popular for their patent-wars as they are for their phones. And these famed patent wars have recently come to India. Of specific note in this regard is the Xiaomi-Ericsson dispute. The main issues in this dispute, as Prof Shamnad Basheer has explained here, are the Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) owned by Ericsson, who licenses them out to smartphone manufacturers. Ericsson also brought cases against Intex, Micromax and Gionee, on similar grounds and perhaps even the same patents.

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On the Need for Network Neutrality

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/ciEBXf)

(This post was published earlier on SpicyIP)

Network Neutrality

The debate around Network Neutrality is a decades old debate, but it is not any less relevant for it. The idea of ‘Network Neutrality’ is, simply put, that ISPs do not price-discriminate between their consumers. Thus, under the Net Neutrality regime, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot charge different consumers different prices for different speeds, shifting those that pay more to the ‘fast lane’ and the others to a ‘slow lane’. This is especially relevant in the case of service providers which rely on the internet to reach their customers, such as Google, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, et cetera. The argument made in favour of Network Neutrality is that this model is the only way to ensure the innovation and openness that the internet is known for, and one of the core ideologies that stands in the way of the internet following the path taken by other innovations such as the radio, the television, and the phone, and ending up as an integrated and essentially monopolised and commercialised technology. The argument made by the ISPs, against Network Neutrality, is that without the freedom to charge higher prices for faster services, they have no incentive to upgrade their infrastructure to provide for faster services. And even before that, they argue that the network neutrality system does not allow them to fully capitalise on their existing infrastructure itself, something they have expended immense amounts of capital on.  Continue reading On the Need for Network Neutrality