The European Court of Justice on Enforcement of FRAND Patents: Huawei v. ZTE

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rendered its highly anticipated ruling in Huawei v. ZTE on the enforcement of standard essential patents (SEPs) which are subject to a FRAND commitment. SEPs play a significant role in the mobile communications sector and patent owners have widely asserted them to try to enjoin their competitors’ standard compliant products (in what is often referred to as the “smartphone wars”). With its latest decision, the ECJ requires that a specific process be followed when seeking injunctive relief in the EU based on the alleged infringement of FRAND-committed SEPs in order to balance the interests of the patent owner and the implementers of standards.

THE GERMAN PROCEEDINGS -

After unsuccessful licensing discussions, Huawei sued ZTE for patent infringement in the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, Germany, seeking injunctive relief and damages. The patent in suit has been declared to ETSI as essential to the LTE standard, and Huawei committed to ETSI to license the patent on FRAND terms to any third party in accordance with ETSI’s policies.

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