The ITU's roundtable discussing the controversy over standard-essential patents has wrapped up its first day, and surprise -- there wasn't immediate harmony. While strict press rules prevent discussing exactly which companies said what in the Geneva meeting, the UN's telecom agency mentioned that the initial, partly publicized discussions saw a "heated debate" that mostly followed party lines. Certain companies kept to their view that bans over standard-essential patents hurt innovation, while others were adamant that bans were harmless and potentially necessary -- you can probably guess who's on each side. The meeting mostly helped whittle down the subjects for the closed meetings, which should focus on how much of a curb there should be on injunctions as well as the definition of just what the "reasonable" in Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) patent licensing terms should mean.
ITU officials remain ever the budding optimists, however. They felt that it was tough to leave injunctions "completely unchecked" and that their institution could shape policies, even if it wouldn't get involved with ongoing talks. Legal Officer Antoine Dore also explained to Engadget that his organization wasn't surprised at the uncompromising stances early on and expected the companies involved to open up "a lot more" once they weren't under the watchful eyes of cameras and reporters. If they don't, we suspect other international organizations could exert their own pressure.