Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Xiaomi apparently took codec patent license from VoiceAge EVS: Munich court confirms voluntary dismissals

Munich makes patent holders money.

The same apparently applies--credit where credit is due--to the Wildanger patent litigation boutique.

On May 25, the Munich I Regional Court's Seventh Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Matthias Zigann; side judges: Judge Dr. Hubertus Schacht and the rapporteur in these cases, Judge Benjamin Kuttenkeuler) heard two VoiceAge EVS v. Xiaomi standard-essential patent (SEP) infringement cases. Decisions were scheduled to be announced last Thursday (July 21) and in early August.

Yesterday evening a spokeswoman for the Munich I Regional Court informed me that both announcements had been canceled as a result of voluntary dismissals. There was a similar pattern last year in some VoiceAge EVS v. Apple cases. Just like then, there is no room for reasonable doubt that this means Xiaomi has taken a SEP license from VoiceAge EVS, as had eight other major smartphone makers before it. I believe that was the rational thing for Xiaomi to do. Well over half the market has a license to those patents.

On the two patents-in-suit, VoiceAge EVS had previously prevailed over HMD in what is an unprecedented winning streak (six out of six). There was no indication at the May trial that VoiceAge EVS wasn't going to win again, which would have extended the streak to eight out of eight, but they're in the licensing business and not competing for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

Next month, the Munich court is scheduled to announce at least one decision in a VoiceAge EVS v. OPPO case. We'll see whether history repeats itself.

HMD continues to hold out--and failed to dissuade the Seventh Civil Chamber from ordering another injunction by recently arguing that an injunction was disproportionate as it would cause irreparable harm while disputing that it needed to implement the patented techniques in the first place. How's that for some self-contradiction?

The fact that VoiceAge EVS has signed up another high-profile licensee is also a major success for the law firm I mentioned further above: Wildanger, which also won the Munich injunction against Ford that--based on the sequence of events--must have played a key role in the iconic U.S. car maker's decision to take an Avanci patent pool license. And this month, Wildanger effectively won a Munich non-SEP trial against Pokémon GO maker Niantic (a Google-Nintendo joint venture represented by Quinn Emanuel): Judge Dr. Zigann made it clear that the defendant was on the losing track and should take a license to conserve court and party resources. A decision in that case has been scheduled for August 18 (like the VoiceAge EVS v. OPPO case I mentioned before).