Earlier this week, both Nokia and BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) were both granted leave to file amicus briefs with the Federal Circuit in the Apple v. Motorola appeal of Judge Posner’s June 2012 decision to dismiss the parties’ respective infringement claims. BlackBerry’s brief is still confidential, but Nokia’s is now publicly available.
While Nokia’s amicus brief is styled as being “in support of neither party,” it’s clear that Motorola should be the one happy here — Nokia asks the Federal Circuit to reverse Judge Posner’s decisions relating to Motorola’s standard-essential patents at issue, both with respect to damages and injunctive relief. Nokia claims that Judge Posner’s ruling (1) creates a bright line rule against injunctions that violates Supreme Court precedent, and (2) unnecessarily devalues standard-essential patents by mandating that any damages be based on the smallest salable unit, which runs contrary to industry practices in SEP licensing. A summary is after the jump.
We generally focus on U.S.-specific standard-essential patent issues here at the Essential Patent Blog, but often there are some international developments that are worth noting. Today brings us one of those, as the European Commission announced that it has sent a Statement of Objections to Motorola Mobility as part of its investigation into Motorola’s potential misuse of mobile phone-related standard-essential patents.
Today’s Statement of Objections sets out the Commission’s preliminary view that under the specific circumstances of this case – a previous commitment to license SEPs on FRAND terms and the agreement of Apple to accept a binding determination of the terms of a FRAND licence for SEPs by a third party – recourse to injunctions harms competition. The Commission is concerned that the threat of injunctions can distort licensing negotiations and lead to licensing terms that the licensee of the SEP would not have accepted absent this threat. This would lead to less consumer choice.
The EC is careful to note two things — first, that it takes no position on the availability of injunctive relief for SEP holders against unwilling licenses; and second, that the sending of a Statement of Objections is a formal step and “does not prejudge the final outcome of the investigation.” However, it’s clear that the EC has taken a dim view of FRAND SEP holders seeking injunctions against willing (or even potentially-willing) licensees.
Late last week, Motorola Mobility filed its Responsive and Opening Brief in Federal Circuit Appeal No. 2012-1548 (the appeal from Judge Posner’s June 2012 decision to dismiss competing infringement claims in a case between Apple and Motorola). We’ve previously discussed the large number of amicus briefs filed with the Federal Circuit by a wide variety of parties addressing the issues of damages and injunctive relief with respect to standard-essential patents. Here, Motorola characterizes Apple as an “unwilling licensee” who wants to change the rules of how standard-essential patent licensing has long been done in the cellular industry. Motorola claims that Judge Posner’s rulings — which barred injunctive relief for Motorola’s FRAND-pledged standard-essential patent at issue, and limited damages to ex ante (pre-standard) value of the patent — “devalue essential patents,” “upset the settled expectations” of patent holders who contribute to industry standards, and “create disincentives” to participate in standard-setting activities.
On March 5, 2013 at 2:00pm, the Intellectual Property Owners Association is holding a webinar to discuss the potential implications that the FTC-Google consent decree may have on the world of standard-essential patents. The webinar is taking place as part of of IPO’s weekly IP Chat Channel series. David W. Long, a member of Dow Lohnes’s Litigation group and a co-author of The Essential Patent Blog, will be one of the webinar presenters. Details on the webinar and information on how to register for it is after the jump.
Yesterday we covered several public comments submitted to the FTC by various professional organizations and trade/industry associations surround the FTC-Google consent decree. Today, we’re here to tackle the submissions from several large companies that chose to comment on the FTC order. These companies include Apple, Ericsson, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Research in Motion.
The Federal Circuit denied Apple’s petition for an en banc rehearing of its prior denial of a preliminary injunction against Samsung based on Apple’s failure to demonstrate a “causal nexus” between infringement and irreparable harm. However, Apple still has an appeal pending of a denial of a permanent injunction against Samsung. (Bloomberg)
Professor Damien Gerardin has released a new paper addressing the competition law issues that have arisen in Europe relating to licensing and assertion of standard-essential patents in litigation. (via Antitrust Hotch Potch).
On the smartphone wars front, Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California overruled the jury’s conclusion that Samsung willfully infringed Apple’s patents and declined to award Apple damages above and beyond the $1 billion+ jury award. Judge Koh still has yet to rule on Samsung’s request to reduce the jury’s award. More from ArsTechnica and CNET.
Today, Thu., Oct. 11, 2012, in Apple v. Samsung, No. 2012-1507, the Federal Circuit (Prost, Moore and Reyna) reversed preliminary injunctive relief where the patentee did not establish that the accused infringing feature in a multicomponent device drove consumer demand for the entire enjoined device. This is an important case in the Federal Circuit’s recent trend to rein-in relief available from accused infringement by one component of a multicomponent device.
Today, Thu., May 31, 2012, in Merial v. Cipla, No. 2011-1471, the Federal Circuit (Lourie, Schall (dissent) and Reyna) affirmed entry of contempt for violating an injunction that had been entered as part of a default judgment against a foreign defendant that had not contested the original action because that defendant believed personal jurisdiction was not properly pled or met. This complex case provides insight into important procedural nuances of personal jurisdiction, default judgments, injunctions, intervention, contempt proceedings and risks thereof. A quick summary of the case is provided below, which will be followed later by a more thorough analysis with explanatory diagrams.