DOJ Favorably Reviews University Patent Pool: Novel, Non-SEP Patent Pool Formed by 15 Leading Research Universities, Advised by Sullivan & Cromwell, Receives Favorable Business Review from DOJ

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - January 15, 2021
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On January 13, 2021, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“Division”) issued a favorable business review letter to the University Technology Licensing Program (“UTLP”)—a patent pool formed by 15 leading research universities in the United States to license patents in multiple physical science technologies, starting with (i) autonomous vehicles, (ii) connectivity / Internet of Things, and (iii) large-scale data analysis (i.e., “Big Data”).   The letter marks the Division’s first review of a patent pool that was not limited to Standard Essential Patents (“SEPs”).  In its analysis, the Division considered potential competition issues newly raised by a non-SEP pool, and favorably reviewed the mechanisms that UTLP put in place to mitigate potential concerns.  The Division also recognized that any competition concerns presented by the UTLP structure were outweighed by the pro-competitive goals that the program serves and the potential benefit to the public, including increased investment in research by leading universities to support innovation and their faculty.

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