We are accustomed to assume that companies taking the risk of creating new technologies can get a fair return on investment while manufactures that license the technology on Fair and Non – Discriminatory ( FRAND ) terms can make products without having to invest in their own risky R&D. But lately there have been attempts to waken FRAND in ways that would discourage invention companies’ participation. The result would be proprietary technology platforms that offer consumers little choice instead of standardization, and that would dash European hopes for the digital single market. We hope policy maker will recognize the danger of upsetting a balanced, fair-for-all FRAND-based open standards system that produced some of the most profound advances in the history of humankind and kindled widespread economic growth.

This looming scenario was addressed by entrepreneurs, innovators, policy makers and technology pundits gathered at the Politico Europe conference “Setting the Standards: 5G, the Internet of Things and Digital Growth in Europe” held in Brussels on April 26. The speakers’ statements and concepts inspired and fired up a fruitful discussion that highlighted the notion that, as put it by commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, standards are at the heart of competitiveness, innovation and growth.

Other thoughts worth mentioning uttered at the conference include Minna Aila (Nokia vice- president corporate affair) endorsement for open ecosystems guaranteeing market access and wide interoperability. «If a company develops the best technology» she told the audience «it should be able to protect and license it in a way that allows  SMEs to recoup its hard work, risks taking and significant investments».

Ruben Bonet, CEO of Fractus Corporation and IP Europe SMEs Chair acknowledged how R&D investment is very risky therefore it needs strong protection, especially for SMEs. «Unified patent system will help SMEs innovate and protect their investments» he told the crowd.

MEP Kaja Kallas copyrighted this catchy quote: «Europe has to be standards maker and not the standards taker». So be it.

The event was sponsored by Ericsoon, Nokia and Qualcomm