We have seen our fair share of court battles this year among tech companies fighting over patents, such as Apple vs Samsung and Microsoft vs Motorola/Google. Today, many of those companies are scheduled to meet in, naturally, the neutral country of Switzerland to discuss technology patent reform.
The meeting, which will have representatives from Microsoft, Apple, Google, Samsung and many others, is being held by the International Telecommunications Union, a division of the United Nations. The ITU states:
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the effectiveness of RAND-based patent policies and whether these policies adequately respond, in the light of the current increase in patent litigation, to the needs of the various stakeholders. The goal is primarily to provide a neutral venue for industry, Standards Development Organizations (“SDOs”), government and academia to exchange ideas that will guide future discussions on whether current patent policies are adequate or sufficient.
One of the goals of the meeting is for the parties involved to "find out how standard essential patents can be enforced without hindering competition." Microsoft, along with other companies, have already released statements about their views on technology patent reform on the ITU website. The company says, in part:
The international standards system works well because firms that contribute to standards promise to make their essential patents available to others on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms. Consumers and the entire industry will suffer if, in disregard of this promise, firms seek to block others from shipping products on the basis of such standard essential patents.
While it's good news that the companies most involved in patent lawsuits are meeting like this, it remains to be seen if there will be any kind of patent reforms made, much less enforced, anytime soon.