What Young Innovative Companies Want. Formulating Bottom-Up Policy for the Internet of Things.

The potential anticompetitive consequences of standard essential patents have been identified by the European Commission as a key area of policy formulation for the Internet of Things. Throughout the process of policy formulation, the input of young innovative companies may require additional consideration as illustrated by the series of thirty-one in-depth interviews undertaken with key figures in young innovative companies (YICs) across Europe. The information gathered shows that that the way the E.C. conceptualized the policy issues at stake is not wrong, but may be incomplete. While it is important to promote a better understanding of what the FRAND promise entails, young innovative companies showed a remarkable disconnect to the patent system as a whole. They not only lacked intellectual property awareness, but many also thought that the Internet of Things could be helped by open source software, rather than a standard essential patents regime. Against this background, this study strongly encouraged the European Commission to better integrate young innovative companies in the process of patent policy formulation. The fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) guideline the Commission issued at the end of November 2017, reflected the findings of this study by recognizing the need to raise FRAND awareness among YICs and SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Companies).