345. Standard essential patents.

A 'standard essential patent' (SEP) is a patent which protects a technology which its owner has declared to be essential to the implementation of one or more technical industry standards. Such standards allow interoperability between components or products manufactured by different entities, and SEPs are therefore of significant value to their owners. Not only do they provide a substantial revenue stream, but they also potentially enable their owners to 'hold-up' users after the adoption and publication of the standard either by refusing to license the SEP or by extracting excessive royalty fees. SEP owners may hold portfolios of very