Senate Judiciary schedules hearing on standard-essential patents

A standard essential patent covers a certain type of technology that can be used across various devices, such as 3G technology in smartphones and tablets. A company that holds a standard essential patent is required to license the patent on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms.

Standard-essential patents have been at the heart of major patent battles among mobile companies, such as Apple and Samsung.

At last year's hearing, Leahy said he feared exclusion orders "can be misused to prevent rival technologies when holders of standard-essential patents fail to reach agreement on licensing terms," posing "a significant threat to competition and innovation." The upcoming antitrust subpanel hearing will likely revisit this issue.