Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Sisvel suing Ford Motor Company over two 4G standard-essential patents in Munich; Ford's answer to Delaware complaint due tomorrow

This morning, a spokeswoman for the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) has been able to answer my question about any pending Sisvel v. Ford patent infringement cases:

  • Sisvel v. Ford-Werke GmbH (Ford's German subsidiary), case no. 44 O 16987/21, over EP3041304 on "transmission methods and apparatuses in tdd-fdd combined system" (originally filed by Shanghai Langbo Communication Technology Co Ltd; two years ago, IAM reported on a larger transaction involving that Chinese research lab and Sisvel)

  • Sisvel v. Ford-Werke GmbH, case no. 44 O 17132/21, over EP2248383 on a "method and apparatus for indicating deactivation of semi-persistent scheduling" (originally filed by Thomson)

The case numbers indicate that both Sisvel v. Ford cases in Munich have been assigned to the new 44th Civil Chamber under Presiding Judge Dr. Anne-Kristin Fricke, who replaced Presiding Judge Dr. Georg Werner yesterday as he moved on to head the court's equally patent-specialized 21st Civil Chamber.

In mid-December, Sisvel's patent enforcement action against Ford Motor Company in the District of Delaware became known. The parties stipulated to an extension of time until tomorrow (February 3, 2022) for Ford to answer, or otherwise respond to, the complaint.

It would have been out of character for Sisvel to enforce SEPs only in the U.S. and not also in Europe, and there, above all, in Germany, where it has already made history with two Sisvel v. Haier cases--case law that will come into play here as well unless they settle.

In another case brought by an Avanci licensor--in that case, Japan's IP Bridge--the Munich court will hold a hearing in three weeks unless the Federal Patent Court of Germany annulled the patent two weeks ago (haven't been able to find out yet, but will know soon).

A subsidiary of Longhorn IP, a Texas-based non-practicing entity and Avanci licensor, is suing Ford in the District of Delaware.

It is, frankly, a mystery why Ford prefers litigation in Delaware and Germany over an Avanci license, especially given Daimler's example. Maybe its upcoming responsive filing in the District of Delaware will shed some light on its rationale.

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