On September 20th, 2023, LeadershIP Executive Director Dr. Kirti Gupta testified for the ITA-NIST-USPTO Listening Session on Innovating Ideas Around Standards and Intellectual Property. 


Transcript: Good afternoon. My name is Dr. Kirti Gupta and I am speaking on behalf of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Let me start by thanking the agencies for organizing hearings on this important topic at the intersection of technology standards and intellectual property. Standards have been an esoteric topic, and perhaps still are. But state leaders around the world have now recognized the importance of standards for critical and emerging technologies.

To introduce myself, I have worked as an engineer for wireless communication standards, attended numerous standards meetings including the third-generation partnership project (“3GPP”), and filed patents in the field during my tenure at Qualcomm as a wireless systems engineer. Later, I served as Qualcomm’s Chief Economist and have led and published economic analysis in the field of standards and intellectual property.

I’ll start by briefly addressing what standards are and why they matter. While there are thousands of standards, from measurement, and weight, to the thickness of pencils – where the critical feature is interoperability, that is, having a consistent set of rules or speaking a common language, we’re here to discuss another type of standards – for critical and emerging technologies. Here, interoperability is still key, but the defining feature is innovation. Innovative solutions for new technical cutting-edge problems that the industry is facing and voluntarily cooperating to solve together.


1. Technology leadership in critical and emerging technology standards are a priority for national security. Governments around the world have recognized the importance of technology standards. China has a “2035 Standards Plan”. The EU published its “Standardization Strategy” in 2022. The US published its “National Standards Strategy” in May of this year.


2. U.S. must protect incentives to invest in standards R&D for maintaining its technology leadership.


3. Current U.S. IP law or policy on FRAND supports U.S. innovation and global competitiveness in standards.


4. The Department of Commerce can strengthen US participation in international technology standards by taking initiatives to maintain a rules-based standards ecosystem. I list some suggested specific policy actions for U.S. policymakers to consider, with the objectives to preserve a rules-based global standards ecosystem, adhering to and maintain a market- and consumer-driven innovation agenda, and technology selection based on consensus and merit.