Monday, December 19, 2022

Huawei suing Amazon in Germany over WiFi patent infringement--Chinese lawsuit previously became known

A Huawei v. Amazon patent enforcement action in China already became known in October. I have since been trying to find out about similar cases in Germany, and the Dusseldorf Regional Court has confirmed the pendency of case no. 4b 65/22 (Presiding Judge: Dr. Daniel Voss ("Voß" in German)) over EP2491662 on a "number of streams indication for WLAN" (WLAN is another term for WiFi).

The same German court has already granted Huawei a default judgment against Netgear.

I have also asked the Munich I Regional Court and the Mannheim Regional Court whether they can confirm any Huawei v. Amazon cases. However, Munich replied that they cannot (which doesn't necessarily mean that there's nothing there, but German courts can only confirm cases when all defendants have been served, and the administration of the Munich court tends to be a bit slow with service of process), and Mannheim hasn't responded (it has recently been more difficult than at any point during the past ten years to obtain information from the Mannheim court).

Other cases brought by Huawei in Munich and Mannheim have, however, become known, such as cellular standard-essential patent (SEP) actions against the Stellantis automotive group (Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot, Opel etc.) in both Mannheim and Munich, and two cases in Munich against German Netgear competitor AVM. The Munich court's Seventh Civil Chamber held a Huawei v. AVM FRAND hearing on Thursday, largely behind closed doors. The former Presiding Judge, famous patent judge Dr. Matthias Zigann, was promoted to the appeals court (and is serving on the Unified Patent Court). At this point, a permanent successor has not been appointed to preside over the Munich I Regional Court's Seventh Civil Chamber. Judge Dr. Zigann's former deputy, Judge Benjamin Kuttenkeuler, is the chamber's Acting Presiding Judge and, in that role, presided over last week's Huawei v. AVM FRAND hearing. It's too early to tell, but I have yet to meet someone who would describe AVM as a perfectly willing licensee.

Huawei says patent infringement lawsuits are only a last resort when infringers are otherwise not prepared to engage in good-faith negotiations. That point was made again at last week's IAM webinar. Actions speak louder than words, and Huawei's patent cross-license agreement with OPPO, which was announced ten days ago, lends further credibility to Huawei's preference for the amicable resolution of licensing issues.

I expect all of the currently pending Huawei patent cases to be settled during the course of next year, and possibly even before the middle of the year.