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GlobalPlatform Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) FAQs

IPR and Joining GlobalPlatform

Call For Patents


Definition of Terms

Indemnity Provisions in GlobalPlatform's Click License Agreement

IPR and Joining GlobalPlatform:

Q. What are the patent declaration obligations of a company at the time of joining GlobalPlatform?
A. None. A new Member becomes subject to the consortium's IPR Policy solely in a forward-looking capacity. Of course, if a new Member, in it's capacity as an implementer of a standard, has had a patent brought to its attention, it would be helpful to have that patent brought to GlobalPlatform's attention.

Q. When else should a member bring a patent to the attention of GlobalPlatform?
A. Every meeting of a working group commences with the reading of the following notices:

"Please be aware that this meeting is being held under the GlobalPlatform Intellectual Property Rights Policy. If you do not have a copy of this policy, please contact (or inform) the chairperson during this meeting. You may also view and download a copy of the policy at the Membership section of the GlobalPlatform website, located here: http://www.globalpl atform.org/membership.asp.

At this time, each person in attendance is required to inform the chairperson if they are personally aware of any claims under any patent applications or issued patents which would be likely to be read upon by an implementation of any specification or other work product which is the subject of this meeting. You need not be the inventor of such patent or patent application in order to inform GlobalPlatform of its existence, nor will you be held responsible for expressing a good faith belief which proves to be inaccurate."

Knowledge of an existing and/or potentially conflicting patent should be declared by any individual attending a GlobalPlatform meeting, based on their best and available knowledge. A declaration should also be made when a Member company realizes they may have a patent that might be essential to any already approved standard, or to a GlobalPlatform work-in-progress, whether or not the Member is a member of the working group developing that work-in-progress.

Q. What happens when such a patent is brought to GlobalPlatform's attention?
A. The appropriate members of the Technical Committee (in the case of an already adopted standard) or the working group (in the case of a standard under development) will assess the case in light of the disclosure and the commitments (if any) made by the disclosing member regarding the patent,and analyze what to do with the approved standard and/or GlobalPlatform work-in-progress.

Q. Where can a Member find information on declarations that have been made?
A. Declarations are listed on the public website at ht tp://www.globalplatform.org/specificationsipdisclaimers.asp. The statements made on GlobalPlatform's public website are those provided by the owners of the patent claims in question. GlobalPlatform is not in a position to assess whether or not any such claim is indeed essential, and therefore takes no position on the validity or invalidity of any of the listed assertions of essentiality. Implementers of GlobalPlatform standards are therefore advised to engage in their own due diligence prior to proceeding with their proposed implementation.

Call For Patents:

Q. In the situation where a Full or Participating Member is required to provide a 'patent call response' with respect to a certain specification or amendment (for which such Member has not participated in the relevant Committee or Working Group) prior to final adoption thereof, what information should the Member provide regarding the identification of its patents and IPR?
A. The Member is expected to identify (a) the specific patent claims within a patent that would be infringed, and (b) the portion of the draft standard that would result in the infringement. It is not necessarily to give an explanation of why or how that conclusion was reached, although it is helpful if the Member does so.

Q. If a Member later discovers, after a request for a 'patent call response,' that some missing patents or IPRs have been infringed, what happens from the IPR Policy standpoint?
A. Regarding undisclosed IPR Rights, if the failure to disclose was intentional and false, then IPR Policy Section 1.1(d) applies, and the Member is obligated to grant a RAND-free license with respect to the undisclosed Rights to anyone (Member or Non-Member alike) that desires to implement that specification. On the other hand, if the failure was not intentional and false, then IPR Policy Section 1.5 applies, and the Member will be asked to provide a RAND-free license as above. If a RAND-free license cannot be obtained, the GlobalPlatform Specification is referred back to the relevant technical committee for further consideration.

Q. In a call for patents, who is expected to be 'the individual Member representative completing the response'?
A. GlobalPlatform does not wish to restrict Members in how they manage patent calls. Therefore, Members are free to decide who they wish to have complete the form. This allows Members to follow whatever internal clearance and authorization procedures they wish in connection with responding to a patent call. Often, however, this will be the Member's primary GlobalPlatform representative, as that person.

Q. Is the individual Member representative required to finish all patent surveillance at his or her Member company within the suggested response period and inform the GP board of the results thereof?
A. GlobalPlatform does not mandate the degree of diligence that a Member must take to determine whether or not it owns a patent claim that might be infringed. Indeed, Section 1.4 of the IPR Policy explicitly states that Members and Member representatives are not obligated to conduct searches for patents or other IPR which would be infringed by the implementation of a GlobalPlatform specification. That said, it is the hope that Members will give thought to whether they have any patents that are relevant, and the purpose of the requirement of someone signing a form is that a Member will presumably not want anyone to sign the form unless appropriate consideration has been given. Regarding timing, a Member is required to respond in the applicable 60 day deadline stated in the IPR Policy. As a practical matter, this also sets the deadline for completion of whatever diligence the Member wishes to conduct.

Q. Is a Member released from any such 'patent call response' obligation if the Member company has not participated in the Committee or Working Group concerned?
A. It does not make any difference under this provision whether the Member has participated in the Committee or Working Group or not - the same goal applies (i.e., to learn whether there is a patent claim owned by it that would be infringed, and if so, whether and how it is available). Accordingly, if the claim and the relevant portion of the draft standard are disclosed, then the Member can refuse to license the patent claim, or reserve the right to do so but charge a royalty. However, if it is aware of such a claim and does not disclose it, then it could not later withhold, or charge a royalty, for that claim.

Q. When responding to a Call for Patents, does a Member company need to respond on behalf of its parent company?
A. GlobalPlatform's IRP policy applies to the organization that has signed the Membership Agreement and its subsidiaries. If the subsidiary is a company in its own right and signed the Membership Agreement, GlobalPlatform's IPR policy would not apply to the parent company; therefore patent call obligations would not directly apply to parent entities. However, in a patent call situation, if a Member representative has knowledge of potentially necessarily infringing IPR, they would be required to disclose that, whether or not the IPR belongs to a parent or a third party. Importantly, however, they have no obligations with respect to that IPR, since it does not have the legal right to commit that IPR.


Q. How does the contribution of copyrighted materials work?
A. Those who contribute their copyrighted materials to GlobalPlatform retain copyright ownership of their original work, while at the same time granting GlobalPlatform and all implementers of GlobalPlatform specifications full rights to revise, modify, and create derivative works based on that original work, under GlobalPlatform's own copyright.

The language in the IPR Policy is intended to make clear that ownership of copyright in a submitted work remains with the submitting company. However, by making the contribution, the contributor agrees that GlobalPlatform will own the copyright in all resulting GlobalPlatform work product that incorporates a submitted work.

Q. We are a GlobalPlatform Member and want to make a technical contribution in the form of an IP submission to the organization. By doing so, would our company lose its ability to protect underlying patents and other IPR related to the submission?
A. Not at all. A GlobalPlatform Member retains full ownership and control of all its relevant IPR. The IPR Policy provides that the submitter will continue to own the copyright in the text of its submission, while GlobalPlatform will own the copyright in the full text of the final work product, which will typically be made up of contributions from multiple members and draftspersons. The only impact on a submitter's patent portfolio is to honor the commitment it made with respect to Specification implementers at the time of its submission (e.g. by providing a license on reasonable and non- discriminatory terms without the need to pay a royalty or other fee, or by providing a covenant not to assert).

Q. If I'm a member of another standards organization, and GPI references a standard developed by that organization, do I have the same obligations to GPI regarding any Essential Claims I may own under the referenced standard?
A. No. Submissions made to each organization are entirely separate and the GPI policy applies only to the elements of a standard that GPI develops. When a GPI standard references a standard developed by another organization, only the obligations (if any) that a GPI member owes to the other organization will apply with respect to the referenced standard (and then only under the other organization's IPR policy, and not under the GPI policy).

Q. When a member contributes technology using Attachment #2 of the IPR Policy, Member Submission of Technology Form (the “Form”), how can the member commit to any and all knowledge regarding third party IPR that may be infringed by the implementation of the Specification (Section A.5)?
A. When completing the Form, the assertion required by Section A.5 of the Form is to be made by the member representative submitting the form, based on information of which that representative is personally aware. If that representative is not personally aware of any Patent claim or other intellectual property right of a third party that would be infringed by the implementation of the Specification in question, nothing is required to be reported on Exhibit B of the Form. The representative is not required to engage in any investigation or other due diligence prior to submitting the Form.

Definition of Terms:

Q. What does the term 'necessarily infringed' mean?
A. This phrase means that it would be impossible or infeasible to implement at least one required element of a specification without infringing the patent claim in question, taking into account technical and economic (other than any licensing fees for the patent claim in question) considerations.

Indemnity Provisions in GlobalPlatform's Click License Agreement:

Q. What is the rationale for the indemnity provisions in GlobalPlatform's Click License Agreement?
A. As a standards organization, GlobalPlatform works on a tight budget and must be careful to avoid potential litigation. One way it does this is by requiring licensees of the specifications to indemnify GlobalPlatform to the extent GlobalPlatform is sued by a third party as a result of the licensee's use of the GlobalPlatform specifications.

Q. Has GlobalPlatform provided any exceptions to the indemnity provisions?
A. Without exception, GlobalPlatform has required all of its specification licensees to agree to the indemnification provisions in the click-wrap. As a result, GlobalPlatform cannot justify modifying those terms for any one licensee.

Q. What risks would a GlobalPlatform Member or Non-Member be exposed to by the indemnity provisions if it only intends to read and evaluate the specification?
A. If a Member or Non-Member accepts the license agreement but only reads and evaluates the specification, there is virtually no risk under the indemnification provision clause. This is because the obligation to indemnify only applies to damages to GlobalPlatform arising from third party claims in connection with the use of the specification by the licensee. If the licensee never implements and only evaluates, it is difficult to imagine what damages a third party could ever claim from GlobalPlatform that relate to the licensee.

To apply to become a GlobalPlatform member, please read the following legal bylaws and IPR policy, complete and return the membership agreement:

The completed and signed membership agreement can be scanned and emailed to GlobalPlatform. Alternatively, it can be faxed to the GlobalPlatform Secretariat on +1-650-260-2389.

New members joining after 31 October within the current fiscal year will pay prorated fees based on the month that a signed membership agreement is received by GlobalPlatform.

All membership inquiries can be sent to GlobalPlatform.