CLEPA applauds European Commission’s proposal to regulate standard essential patents on new technologies

CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a balanced and fair system of licensing for the use of standard essential patents (SEPs).

in CLEPA, 28-04-2023

The automotive industry invests €30 billion annually in research, innovation and marketing of solutions that support the green and digital transition of mobility. For these investments, companies require certainty and predictability to continue to advance towards a more sustainable and digital future. In this regard, the licensing of standard essential patents for electronic and digital innovation plays an important role. Unfortunately, current licensing practices lack transparency and reliability, resulting in lengthy and costly litigation that can potentially hinder innovation.

“The proposed regulation promises to enhance transparency and level the playing field for patent holders and users. This will result in significant improvements to the current situation,” says Benjamin Krieger, CLEPA Secretary General.

It is specifically important that the proposal prioritises transparency, negotiations, and third-party determination before injunctions for SEPs. Making FRAND determination a legal obligation prior to any patent infringement or assertion procedure, will significantly reduce lengthy and expensive litigation. Any willing licensee, regardless of their position in the value chain, must be able to obtain a FRAND license. Only by making both provisions legally binding do we expect a significantly positive impact.

CLEPA’s Senior Manager for Legal Affairs, Mariola Hauke, states “In order to boost innovation and succeed in the mobility transition, automotive suppliers need a solid legal framework that ensures fair competition and allows a design-around approach where it enriches technology for the benefit of all.”

With the aim to provide insight into the specificities of the automotive supply patent ecosystem, CLEPA published comprehensive policy guidelines earlier this year:


See Policy guidelines



CLEPA | Group of trade associations urges Commission to maintain the objectives of the proposal on Standard Essential Patents

A group of trade associations have sent a joint letter to the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen, warning about the concerns in the shelve of the proposal on Standard Essential Patents (SEP), with which patent-holders commit to licence their SEPs to users of the standard on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions.

in CLEPA, 18-04-2023

The group supports and appreciates the objectives represented in the reported European Commission proposal for a regulation on standard essential patents. The associations welcome the efforts of the Commission in developing this proposal, which addresses many of the concerns raised in recent years.

The proposed regulation includes strong measures that could improve transparency and predictability in the standard essential patents licensing ecosystem for all stakeholders. It recognises that royalty stacking is a concern and creates a pathway for parties to have a fair chance to negotiate a FRAND license before litigation can be brought. It also recognizes the principle that anyone should be able to get a FRAND license if they are willing to take one.

The group urges the Commission to maintain the objectives of the legislative proposal and further build upon them, raising that there has been a strong push from a small group of stakeholders to shelve this proposal.

Read the letter

Why does SEP regulation matter to automotive suppliers’ contribution to the future of mobility?

Automotive is one of the industries outside of traditional telecommunications facing Standard Essential Patents (SEP) licensing abuse. Automotive suppliers invest, innovate, build and market next-generation products advancing the future of mobility. In fact, automotive suppliers register over 39,000 patents each year.

Companies in the automotive supply industry need certainty and predictability to reliably invest in the development of new technologies using new standards. That is why creating a balanced system of licensing for the use of standards will motivate SEP holders and implementers to engage in good faith negotiations.


CLEPA Policy Guidelines on SEP



CLEPA | Access to in-vehicle data and resources will be key as the aftermarket prepares for new vehicle technologies

  • The aftermarket community discussed vehicle technology challenges at the CLEPA Aftermarket Conference 2023, including the need for cybersecurity and authorisation for replacement parts.
  • CLEPA appreciates the horizontal Data Act but still sees the need for a sector-specific legislation to ensure a vibrant service market based on fair, equal and competitive access for all service providers, benefiting consumers.
  • CLEPA and Boston Consulting Group predict that by 2030, 15% of passenger cars will be owned by fleets, driving the electrification of the vehicle parc.

in CLEPA, 05-04-2023

With the shift to battery electric vehicles and the rise of connected vehicles equipped with new Electric & Electronic (E/E) architectures, the European automotive industry is undergoing an unparalleled transformation. As these new technologies gain momentum, the entire value chain must prepare for the challenges of servicing such vehicles over the next few decades.

These challenges for the service industry were the focus of the 14th edition of the CLEPA Aftermarket Conference 2023, with the theme ‘Driving Service Innovation’. The event, which took place in Brussels on 29 & 30 March, brought together over 180 participants, including top-level speakers from the Commission, Parliament and industry.

In his welcome speech, CLEPA Secretary General, Benjamin Krieger, stated: “Consumer confidence is crucial for the acceptance and the deployment of new technologies. This is best achieved by a wide choice of equipped and skilled repairers in the aftermarket ensuring seamless service over the lifespan of vehicles.” The consumer in the centre was also seen as most relevant by Hasmeet Kaur, Roland Berger, who shared her thoughts on the ‘Mobility vision 2040’, in a keynote address.

Mark Nicklas, Head of Unit Mobility at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, kicked-off the second day of the conference with an overview on planned aftermarket-relevant regulations, stating that cybersecurity is essential but will require further regulatory intervention to ensure a level playing field. The audience also took note that the Commission is still planning to develop a proposal for a sector-specific regulation to complement the EU Data Act with regards to the use of in-vehicle data.

Angelica Petrov, Policy Advisor in the office of MEP Alin Mituta, presented the European Parliament’s view on the Data Act. She highlighted the challenges of achieving a balance between protecting intellectual property rights and trade secrets while allowing for general data sharing in the horizontal regulation, particularly in terms of defining scope of the “data”.

Alexander Brenner from Boston Consulting Group presented the first findings of a joint study with CLEPA on the impact of fleets on the aftermarket business. The study revealed that by 2030, around 15% of the passenger cars will be owned and operated by fleets, with 62% of them as battery electric vehicles (BEV) in the base scenario. The future market volume for repair and maintenance, tires, crash repairs, and accessories, will be determined by the overall percentage of vehicles owned by fleets, as well as the proportion of BEVs within those fleets. The study also analysed various scenarios for passenger cars and included insights on light commercial vehicles, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles as well as trailers.

In the second half of the event, Damian Dyrbusch, head of the newly founded Bosch Centre of Competence for Mobility System Architectures, provided insights into the E/E architecture of connected vehicles as part of a broader ecosystem. This led to a panel discussion on the challenges that new technologies pose for the aftermarket. Eric-Mark Huitema (AVERE), Christian Knobloch (Knobloch & Gröhn), Stefan von Dalen (Hella), Dominik Lutter (ZDK) and Hari Ramakrishnan (FIGIEFA) discussed the future role of OEMs and tech players, and the impact of cybersecurity measure requires from OEMs. The panel also addressed the role of OBD and the relevance of software updates. While the technical capability of software updates was seen as relevant, cybersecurity measures and in-vehicle data access were seen as major competition issues in the aftermarket.

The final part of the event showcased four best practice examples presented by start-ups in cybersecurity, greenhouse gas emission trading, digital car service documentation and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

This was followed by Hans Bosch, ANBW, who shared surprising statistics on breakdowns of BEVs, which were found to be higher than those of combustion engine vehicles. Per Oscarson and Petra Bendelin, both from MEKO, explained how the largest wholesaler in the Nordic region prepares workshops, mechanics and distribution for the electric vehicle age. This session ended with Stefan van Dalen, Hella-Gutmann, introducing solutions for an increasing complexity of service and maintenance.

Frank Schlehuber, CLEPA’s Senior Consultant Market Affairs, closed the 14th edition of this conference, commenting, “The aftermarket must prepare for new technologies, new players in the sector and increased fleet business. There are high expectations towards policymakers for a robust regulatory framework to ensure a level playing field, but it is good to see that the sector is already preparing for future challenges. We have seen impressive best practice examples making me confident that the aftermarket will have the strength and creativity to adapt to new technologies.”

The next edition of the CLEPA Aftermarket Conference is planned for March 2024.