Tuesday, February 15, 2022

TCL facing onslaught from HEVC Advance licensors in Munich: video codec patent enforcement

When it comes to video codecs, Dusseldorf has been the world's leading patent enforcement forum for about a decade. However, Access Advance has lately suffered a major setback there, and it appears that the HEVC Advance pool's answer to the duplicate-royalty problem is still lacking and wanting.

Meanwhile I've done some research on patent infringement actions brought by HEVC Advance licensors against Chinese electronics maker TCL, a frequent defendant to standard-essential patent (SEP) assertions. Those cases were filed with the Munich I Regional Court, where TCL has also been sued by LG Elecronics over a couple of wireless patents, but those cases are stayed until at least the end of next month. The patents-in-suit in those wireless cases (case nos. 7 O 12979/20 and 7 O 12656/20) EP2239905 and EP2086155, both on an "apparatus for transmitting and receiving a signal and method of transmitting and receiving a signal."

A spokeswoman for the Munich court has confirmed the pendency of the following HEVC Advance v. TCL cases:

  • 21st Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Georg Werner); hearing dates in September and November

    • Dolby v. TCL, case no. 21 O 4139/21, EP2777270 on a "procedure for coding and decoding of images, apparatus for coding and decoding and corresponding computer programs"

    • Mitsubishi v. TCL, case no. 21 O 4136/21, EP2720468 on a "moving image decoding method"

    • GE v. TCL, case no. 21 O 4140/21, EP2559245 on "video coding using multi-tree sub-divisions of images"

    • ETRI v. TCL, case no. 21 O 4141/21, EP2723078 on an "image decoding apparatus"

    • IP Bridge v. TCL, case no. 21 O 8819/21, EP3288261 on a "moving picture decoding method"

  • 44th Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Anne-Kristin Fricke)

    • Philips v. TCL, case no. 44 O 6966/21, EP2950544 on "adaptive coding of the prediction error in hybrid video coding" (hearing date TBD)

In a somewhat related context, Juve Patent reported last year that TCL is typically represented in German patent infringement cases by Dr. Andreas Kramer of Vossius & Partner.

It's a safe assumption that TCL won't be the last company to be sued by HEVC Advance licensors in Munich...

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