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Posts Tagged: "Ericsson"

Patent Damages Laws Regarding Apportionment are Inapplicable to Breach of Contract (FRAND) Claims

In a previous article, we discussed the difference between a reasonable royalty for patent infringement and a FRAND licensing rate, both in terms of their origins and objectives: the former being a creature of statute and case law that seeks to compensate a patent owner for infringement, whereas the latter is rooted in contract and seeks, amongst other things, to address issues of royalty stacking and discriminatory licensing. Despite these differences, we noted that these two concepts have often been treated interchangeably by courts, often leading to confusing results…. Pursuant to appeal of that decision, however, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has now addressed the photonegative question in HTC Corp. et al. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM et al., case number 19-40643: are patent laws regarding what constitutes a reasonable royalty applicable to questions of compliance with FRAND-related contractual obligations? Though the majority decision did a great job highlighting the distinction between these two different concepts, there was a concurring decision that continues to blur the line.

Fifth Circuit Affirms Texas Court’s Judgment that Ericsson Complied with FRAND Obligations

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today affirmed an Eastern District of Texas court’s judgment for Ericsson, finding no error in the district court’s jury instructions, declaratory judgment or evidentiary rulings, and rejecting HTC Corporation’s allegations that Ericsson had breached its contractual obligation to offer a license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The case stems from HTC’s refusal of a 2016 licensing deal in which Ericsson proposed a rate of $2.50 per 4G device to license its standard essential patents for mobile devices. Although HTC had previously paid Ericsson about $2.50 per device for the patents under a 2014 licensing agreement, in 2016 the company independently assessed the value of Ericsson’s patents and ultimately proposed a rate of $0.10 per device in 2017, which was based on the “smallest salable patent-practicing unit.” According to the Fifth Circuit, Ericsson considered this “so far off of the norm” that negotiations stopped, and a few days later, HTC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging breach of FRAND terms.

Drilling Down on Criticism of Top-Down Approach to Determining Essentiality

Last week, an article was published on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) website by Matteo Sabattini, who is the director of IP Policy at Ericsson. SSRN is an open research paper repository that does not peer-review any articles that are uploaded. Sabattini’s new article, a summary of which was also recently published on IPWatchdog, is titled, “When is a portfolio probably standard-essential?” and cites several studies that determined the overall essentiality rate for 4G and 5G. Here, Sabattini cites the Concur IP study that was part of the expert witness report of witness Dr. Zhi Ding in the TCL v. Ericsson litigation case, as well as several studies published by David Edward Cooper from Hillebrand Consulting, who is an Ericsson commissioned subject matter expert and who also testified in court, e.g. for the Unwired Planet v. Huawei case. Finally, Sabattini also mentions the EU commission 2017 study conducted by IPlytics:

Determining When a Patent Portfolio is Standard-Essential: A Probabilistic Approach

In recent years, several patent experts and commentators have claimed that there are too many “low-quality” patents being granted by patent offices around the world, or that a large percentage of patents are often found invalid by courts and judges. Until a patent is found to be invalid by a court or another tribunal, during licensing negotiations both licensor and licensee can only consider the likelihood that such patent is eventually found invalid based on the incomplete information available to them. Similarly, it has been claimed that a patent-by-patent analysis of a large patent portfolio could determine, without any uncertainty, whether a portfolio is infringed or standard essential. For example, several studies have been published or presented in courts that try to determine which patents in a portfolio are “truly” essential….. A better model, in the author’s opinion, is a probabilistic model that tries to estimate the likelihood of a portfolio to be infringed, valid and/or essential.

NYIPLA Amicus Brief in Ericsson v. Samsung Advocates the Adjudication of U.S. Patent Rights by U.S. Courts

On April 9, the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) filed an amicus brief in Ericsson Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., No. 2021-1565, urging a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to balance U.S. interests in adjudicating U.S. patent rights against the rule of comity, with respect to an order by a Chinese court restricting the litigation of certain U.S. patents in U.S. courts. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Judge Paul Michel and former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu also filed an amicus brief in the case on the same day in support of Ericsson…. Although the NYIPLA did not take a position on the exact scope and content of Judge Gilstrap’s order, it filed an amicus brief to highlight our country’s “strong policy interest in allowing U.S. patent rights to be adjudicated in U.S. courts” and to point out that “[a]llowing China to exercise exclusive dominion over U.S. patent rights and royalty rates and to preclude enforcement of U.S. patent rights within the United States would cause a severe reduction in the value of U.S. patents and jeopardize the very underpinnings of the U.S. patent system.”

Tillis, Michel and Iancu Back Ericsson in Heated International FRAND Dispute with Samsung

In the latest phase of an international dispute between Samsung Electronics and Ericsson, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Judge Paul Michel and former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu have filed an amicus brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) supporting Ericsson and urging the CAFC to affirm the district court’s order granting an anti-interference injunction. That order enjoined Samsung from taking any action to interfere with Ericsson’s U.S. FRAND (“fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” terms) lawsuit against Samsung in the Texas court.

Ericsson Wins Anti-Interference Injunction Against Samsung in Texas FRAND Case

Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas yesterday issued an order enjoining  Samsung Electronics from taking any action to interfere with Ericsson’s U.S. FRAND (“fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” terms) lawsuit against Samsung in his court. Samsung had filed a lawsuit on December 7, 2020 in the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court of China but did not provide notice to Ericsson of the action. “Unaware of the Chinese Action,” according to Judge Gilstrap’s order, Ericsson filed a complaint against Samsung on December 11, 2020 in the Texas court, alleging that Samsung breached its obligation to license its Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on FRAND terms, and “notified Samsung of its Complaint in this Court that same day.” Samsung subsequently asked the Wuhan court to issue an “anti-suit injunction” (ASI) to prevent it from seeking relief relating to the SEPs at issue anywhere else in the world. The Wuhan Court issued the ASI on December 25 for the “duration of the Chinese Action and until a future judgment in that Action becomes effective.” The Wuhan Court gave Ericsson notice of the ASI after it had issued on December 25. Ericsson thus asked the Texas Court for an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) on December 28, which the court granted.

Former CAFC Chief Judge Michel Backs Ericsson in FRAND Dispute

On January 5, the Honorable Paul R. Michel filed an amicus brief in support of Ericsson’s Emergency Application for an Anti-Interference Injunction related to Samsung’s lawsuit filed in the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court of China (the Wuhan Action). In response to Ericsson’s motion filed on December 28, 2020, the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a temporary restraining order against Samsung in the FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing rates) lawsuit. Michel’s brief addressed the “substantial notice and due process concerns associated with [an] anti-suit injunction issued by the Wuhan Court.”

Ericsson Wins Temporary Restraining Order Over Samsung in ED TX FRAND Litigation

Earlier today, Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a temporary restraining order against Samsung in a FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing rates) lawsuit filed by Ericsson on December 11, 2020. The Order gives Samsung until January 1, 2021 to file any opposition to the continuation of the temporary restraining order, and gives Ericsson until January 5, 2021 to respond if, or more likely when, Samsung, files an objection. At first glance to the trained eye this seems shocking, but as is so often the case in the world of standard essential patents (SEPs) and FRAND, there is much more than meets the eye.

FRAND-Related Statements for Cellular Wireless SEPS: Implementer Obligations (Part V)

This is the fifth and final article in a series of articles analyzing statements made by various entities in the cellular industry regarding licensing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis. The fourth article focused on the obligations of SEP owners in the process of FRAND licensing. This article considers the obligations of implementers.

SEP Owner Obligations: Analyzing FRAND Statements for Cellular Wireless SEPS (Part IV)

This is the fourth in a series of articles analyzing statements made by various entities in the cellular industry regarding licensing Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis. The third article considered the royalty base to which FRAND rates apply. This article focuses on statements made regarding the obligations of SEP owners in the process of FRAND licensing.

Cellular Wireless Standard Essential Patents: A Survey of FRAND-Related Statements

Over the years, several entities have published statements related to licensing 4G/5G cellular wireless Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on a Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) basis.  These include entities that are primarily licensors of SEPs, entities who sell network equipment products or components and who are also significant licensors of SEPs, entities who sell end user products and who are significant licensees of SEPs, an association focused on FRAND policy development and a patent pool.  An analysis of these statements reveals several common themes, but also a wide range of opinions on such issues. Below is the first in a series of articles that will review these statements with a view to highlighting some of these differing viewpoints, and provides context for these statements by way of reference to the policies of standards setting organizations and related legal pronouncements.

UK Supreme Court Affirms Jurisdiction of English Courts in SEP Cases

In a ruling concerning patent portfolios owned by Unwired Planet and Conversant, the UK Supreme Court has upheld lower decisions that English courts can determine fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms for worldwide patent licenses, and grant injunctions. The Court’s unanimous judgment in the three cases (Unwired Planet International Ltd and another v Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd and another, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and another v Conversant Wireless Licensing SÀRL and ZTE Corporation and another v Conversant Wireless Licensing SÀRL [2020] UKSC 37) was issued today (August 26), after the Court heard arguments in October 2019.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, December 6: Lawmakers Concerned with Copyright Restatement, USPTO Pushed to Keep SEP Injunction Policy, Qualcomm Pushes Back on Koh at Ninth Circuit

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments over copyright status of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated; the Federal Circuit remands Ericsson appeal to calculate release payment in patent license; Apple, Ford and others urge the USPTO to retain policy against injunctions on companies practicing SEPs; Huawei asks the Fifth Circuit to undo the FCC’s ban preventing it from supplying U.S. networks; Sergey Brin and Larry Page relinquish executive duties at Google; U.S. antitrust regulators explore Amazon’s cloud business; Washington politicians send letter to ALI over Copyright Restatement Effort concerns; and Qualcomm challenges Judge Koh’s class action certification at the Ninth Circuit.

Ericsson Wins, But CAFC Dodges Whether Offers Were FRAND

Earlier today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in a standard essential patent (SEP) appeal involving Ericsson and TCL Communication Technology—a closely watched case that many hoped would produce some case law relating to what constitutes a FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) offer of a licensing royalty rate relative to SEPs. See TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. V. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, No. 2018-1363, 2018-1732 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 5, 2019). Because the Federal Circuit determined that Ericsson was deprived of its constitutional right to a jury trial, the district court decision was reversed, and the case remanded for further proceedings. However, the question of whether Ericsson’s offers to TCL qualified as FRAND offers were not reached by the Federal Circuit.