Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Volkswagen told court of settlement talks--unclear if negotiating bilateral patent license from Acer and/or upgrade to 4G license from Avanci

Two weeks after Acer filed a patent infringement action in the Eastern District of Virginia over the insufficiency of Volkswagen's 3G Avanci license and refusal to pay for the 4G-essential IP it's actually been using, VW moved for an extension of time for its answer (or other form of response) to Acer's complaint until February 7, 2022 (yesterday). A first extension of time is always granted by U.S. district courts, while a second extension is not a given.

Today I thought I'd download VW's answer to Acer's complaint, which I mentioned last week in my commentary on Ford's response to Sisvel's patent suit in the District of Delaware. What I found instead was the following motion for another extension, which interestingly reveals settlement talks between the German car maker and Acer and/or Avanci (this post continues below the document):

22-01-31 VW Motion for Exte... by Florian Mueller

Here's the relevant passage:

"Good cause exists for this Court to grant this second extension because the parties are in negotiations to settle all matters in controversy between them. VWGoA respectfully requests that this Court grant the requested extension to allow the parties to more effectively continue with negotiations and finalize an agreement. Counsel for VWGoA has spoken with Plaintiff’s counsel, and Plaintiff does not oppose Defendant’s request for an extension of time." (emphases added)

On this basis, the judge granted the extension.

There are two possibilities here, which are not mutually exclusive:

  • VW's objective may be a bilateral license from Acer.

  • But Acer brought its complaint in the first place because it wanted VW to recognize that a 3G Avanci license fell short of the IP coverage needed for 4G cars. Also, a bilateral agreement with Acer would not resolve the dispute with Japan's IP Bridge, an other Avanci licensor suing VW (I discovered at least one case that was pending in Munich), nor would VW be licensed to roughly four dozen other cellular SEP portfolios in the Avanci pool. That's why an Avanci license would be a logical outcome.

It's possible that both options are being negotiated in parallel.

The extension gives Volkswagen another month: the new deadline is March 9, 2022.

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