This is a dreadful week for Nokia on the patent assertion front. A pathetic Nokia patent was held non-essential (thus non-infringed) by the Mannheim Regional Court on Tuesday, and yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, the 7th Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Matthias Zigann) of the Munich I Regional Court threw out a Conversant v. LG case over a Nokia patent (click on the image to enlarge; this post continues below the image):
The patent-in-suit, EP1173986 on a "method and arrangement for managing packet data transfer in a cellular system," was incorrectly alleged to be essential to the 4G/LTE cellular standard. Nokia's privateer asserted its broadest method claim (claim 1) and two apparatus claims of similar breadth, but to no avail. The court concluded that the transmission of a traffic volume indicator (TVI) in accordance with the LTE specification does not involve a direct selection of a channel as claimed by the patent. As a result, the LTE standard does not require any technical step going beyond the prior art.
The Nokia patents transferred to Conversant, which is basically acting as a licensing agency for the Finnish failed handset maker, have generally performed very poorly in litigation. Last month the Munich I Regional Court held an early first hearing in a Conversant v. Daimler case, and that patent doesn't appear to have impresssed anyone either.
Nokia failed on Tuesday (Mannheim), indirectly (because it used Conversant as its front) failed on Thursday (Munich), and we'll probably hear very soon that mediation with Daimler and its suppliers failed this week, too.
The mostly Nordic protectionists in the European Commission who are preventing the Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) from formally investigating Nokia's unFRANDly refusal to license component makers need to wake up. If anyone still thinks that Nokia is "the Pride of Europe" in terms of wireless innovation, the performance of its patents in litigation shows that it's not. It would be a far smarter decision for Europe to focus on opportunities in connected cars and the wider Internet of Things (IoT). Nokia is basically fin(n)ished.
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