Thursday, September 24, 2020

Nokia v. Daimler ruling postponed from tomorrow to day before Halloween: Munich I Regional Court

Instead of three key decisions in cases this blog has commented on, there'll "only" be two tomorrow as the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) just postponed its Nokia v. Daimler (case no. 21 O 3891/19 over German patent DE60240446C5 on a "hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ) scheme with in-sequence deliver of packets") ruling from tomorrow (September 25, 2020) to October 30, 2020.

I also mentioned this upcoming Munich decision earlier today in my report ("More unhinged standard-essential patent injunctions to come down in Germany in wake of Sisvel v. Haier") on yesterday's Conversant v. Daimler trial, where the Munich court took its misreading of Huawei v. ZTE one important step further, potentially enjoining companies over standard-essential patents without any such thing as a FRAND analysis. On October 23, 2020, the court intends to make a decision in the Conversant v. Daimler case that went to trial yesterday. That's one week before the new ruling date in Nokia v. Daimler. Both cases are pending before the 21st Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Tobias Pichlmaier).

The rescheduling is due to unspecified court-internal reasons.

It can't be ruled out that whatever happened yesterday might have led this panel of judges (the 21st Civil Chamber) to subsequently postpone that other automotive ruling. It's also possible, however, that the continuation was a done deal, and the fact that the court was in session all day yesterday stood in the way of officially entering the order.

While it is impossible to know whether the postponement will lead to a different outcome (or just a modified reasoning, or is purely a delay without anything changing), one thing can be said for sure: should Nokia win, it will be less likely to gain real leverage. That's because the Dusseldorf Regional Court is virtually certain to refer a set of component-level SEP licensing questions to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on November 12--within less than two weeks of the new Munich ruling date. It's hard to imagine that the appeals court wouldn't stay the enforcement of an injunction predicated on a refusal to license suppliers that the top EU court is asked to declare a violation of Art. 102 TFEU.

As I recalled in my previous post, Nokia isn't able to enforce the injunction it recently obtained in Mannheim as the appeals court presented the failed smartphone maker with only two choices: enter into a covenant not to enforce while the appeals court is resolving Daimler's motion for an enforcement stay--or the appeals court would have ordered a micro-stay for the month or two it takes to adjudge the said motion. Also, Nokia wouldn't have had the liquidity to make a €7 billion deposit (and no bank would have provided a bond without Nokia putting the money into a separate account for that purpose).

Share with other professionals via LinkedIn: