Cornell Law Review


Standard-Essential Patents


In this study, we explore what happens when Standard-Essential Patents (SEPs) go to court. What we found surprised us. We expected that proving infringement of SEPs would be easy-they are, after all, supposed to be essential-but that the breadth of the patents might make them invalid. In fact, the evidence shows the opposite. SEPs are more likely to be held valid than a matched set of litigated non-SEP patents, but they are significantly less likely to be infringed. SEPs, then, don't seem to be all that essential, at least when they make it to court.