Warning: May Contain SEPs

UK (F)RAND Proceedings

This page gives a brief summary of current UK standard essential patent proceedings. To be updated whenever I have the time and inclination. I will try to link to handed-down judgments and some relevant coverage. Do let me know if you have any up to date info to be added.

My previous post in relation to an AIPPI event on the Unwired Planet Court of Appeal judgment was continuing to receive a few views for its summary of UK FRAND proceedings, so now it gets its very own page.

[Ed: Last updates added on 14th May 2019]

Unwired Planet v Huawei 

Will be heard by the Supreme Court in late 2019, Judgment likely early 2020.

Conversant v Huawei & ZTE

Mr Justice Henry Carr’s decision to grant jurisdiction went on appeal (EPLaw) and was upheld by the Court of Appeal (Judgment). A further appeal is now also due to be heard by the Supreme Court in conjunction with the UP v Huawei appeal.

Apple v Qualcomm

Delayed following a successful jurisdiction challenge. See coverage by Bird & Bird as to the reasons why Conversant’s claim was able to continue but Apple’s was stayed.

Philips v Asus & HTC

Ongoing at first instance, with technical decisions likely on appeal.

HTC originally pleaded a pass-through license via Qualcomm (/ the benefit of an undertaking not to sue) to the patents asserted by Philips, but this argument was unsuccessful at first instance and on appeal.

The technical trials have all now taken place at first instance:

These may well be going on appeal, although a further trial in relation to workarounds has been compromised.

Philips v Tinno

No reported hearings (/Settled?)

Tinno are a behind the scenes ODM manufacturer, producing devices on behalf of other companies, much like HTC did when it was first starting out on the European market.

It’s probably safe to assume this action relates to telecoms patents, potentially including the EP826 and EP224 patents Philips asserted against HTC, which will now benefit from a certificate of contested validity.

TQ Delta v Zyxel

Awaiting a technical trial, and an appeal.

Having found one patent valid and infringed (Judgment) Henry Carr J went on to order an injunction, despite the patent term being only a few months from expiry, due to hold-out behaviour by Zyxel – see Judgment and coverage by Bird & Bird.

The TQ Delta litigation is of interest as it relates to two patents for modem technologies standardised by ITU-T: ADSL2, ADSL2+ and VDSL2, which TQ Delta is willing to license on RAND terms (ITU).

IPCom v Vodafone

IPCom have recently requested an expedited trial in relation to one 3G SEP and one 4G SEP. The first technical trial is now due for the end of November 2019.

Any FRAND trial would not now take place until after the Supreme Court’s UP decision in 2020.

PanOptis v Apple

PanOptis have sued Apple in respect of a number of SEPs in relation to High-Efficiency Video Coding. HEVC could be one of the major FRAND battlegrounds in the coming years as video streaming and playback has become central to the functionality of mobile devices.

Vestel v HEVC Advance 

This case is of a somewhat different character to those above. Vestel are suing the HEVC patent pool HEVC advance on a strict competition law basis, with no accompanying attempt to invalidate any of the pool’s patents. Bristows say:

“Vestel claims that offers made by both HEVC Advance and the representative licensor constitute excessive pricing, contrary to Article 102 TFEU. Its primary basis for this claim is that another patent pool covering the same standard, MPEG LA, is said to contain a higher number of declared SEPs while offering licences at a lower royalty rate than HEVC. Vestel also claims that some 1,581 SEPs in the HEVC pool are also in the MEPG pool, to which Vestel has already taken a licence. Vestel has made a counter-offer to HEVC Advance which it says takes into account the lower rates in the MPEG LA pool and the overlapping patents.”

Mitsubishi / Sisvel v Lots of people

These proceedings have been issued but not served so far as I am aware. The Sivel patent litigated in Germany recently was EP1119997, which is involved in 3G/4G – given the successful finding in validity in that litigation the same patent may well be involved here.

Image Credits: Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay