Regulations Revised to Clarify IP Handling for SEMI Standards Development

Regulations Revised to Clarify IP Handling for SEMI Standards Development

By Junko Collins, SEMI Japan

The Regulations Governing SEMI Standards Committees, the operating rules for the SEMI Standards Program, are periodically revised to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of SEMI Standards processes. The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure the development of consensus standards under well-defined democratic procedures. The Regulations provide rules for membership, committee formation, and the conducting of business, voting, and consideration of objections. The latest version of the Regulations was released on June 27, 2011, and is available on the SEMI Standards Web site.

Among other changes, the handling of intellectual property (IP) during standards development has been further clarified in the June 27, 2011 Regulations. The revised Regulations now include a request for a Letter of Intent (LOI) from participating companies when the need to use IP is known at the beginning of standards development.

This change was triggered by recent trends in standards development. As the semiconductor industry matures, the implementation of standards more frequently requires the use of patented technologies.  The change is also in response to the globalization of SEMI Standards and the need to respond to a wider technical area than traditionally addressed by the SEMI Standards Program.

In concrete terms, an LOI asks to the holder(s) of the patented technology whether:

a) The holder intends to permit the use of the patented technology for the purpose of implementing the Published Document without a specific license and without the payment of a royalty or other charge, or

b) The holder intends to negotiate licenses under the holder’s rights with applicants throughout the world wishing to use the patented technology in complying with the Published Document on reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) terms and conditions.

The introduction of the LOI is not the only this change included in this revision of the Regulations; several other updates were also included. However, as this is a significant change that may affect task force operations, all members are recommended to review the latest Regulations.

Additionally, the Procedure Guide (PG), which documents common practices for SEMI Standards Program members, was also revised in July 2011 in accordance with the revision of the Regulations.

Both the Regulations and the Procedure Guide are available on the SEMI Standards website. Direct URLs to access those documents are:

For more information on recent changes to the Regulations and Procedure Guide, please contact your local SEMI Standards staff.