Intellectual Property and Content in the telecoms sector
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19 June 2019
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In a consolidating and globalising world, telcos need clear strategies for building and maintaining strong brands. This is particularly the case when a telco agrees to co-mingle its brand with that of a JV partner, or to create a new brand with a JV partner, when questions of ownership and licensing are critical.
As part of its Digital Single Market initiatives, the European Commission has been consulting on online platforms, cloud and data, liability of intermediaries and the collaborative economy. The results of the consultation are awaited and may affect the sharing of risk and reward between market participants. In particular, some cutting back, or at least refinement, of protections for “mere hosting” is likely.
Cross-border portability of online content
As telcos seek new strategies to integrate content into their offerings, key developments are shaping the content market in the EU. The European Commission’s proposal on cross-border portability of online content services aims at ensuring that consumers who buy or subscribe to films, sport broadcasts, music, e-books and games can access them when they travel in other EU countries. In the course of 2016, we expect further proposals to widen online access to content across the EU, by enhancing crossborder distribution of TV and radio programmes online. These trends will require adaptation to business models designed around limited territorial exploitation, and provide opportunities for those able to exploit them.
Acquiring and protecting know-how and IP across a globalised business should be high priority for telcos. For example, our experience in China is that many domestic companies are putting pressure on multinational companies to share their IP and to develop technology locally when collaborating with Chinese partners. Global companies are faced with the dilemma of participating in one of the world’s largest economies against safeguarding their IP and technologies.