Monday, January 9, 2023

Mannheim Regional Court confirms recent dismissal of Nokia lawsuit against OPPO: no infringement

It turns out that not only one but two decision in German Nokia v. OPPO patent cases--both favoring the smartphone maker--came down on December 20, 2022:

  • What I had already found out and reported on last year is the Dusseldorf Regional Court's decision (by far not the first one) to stay a Nokia v. OPPO case as the patent, which Nokia is also asserting in London, appeared invalid.

  • Today a spokesman for the Mannheim Regional Court confirmed to me that the court's Second Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Holger Kircher) rejected a Nokia v. OPPO complaint over EP2145404 on a "method and apparatus for providing control channels for broadcast and paging services". In 2020, Nokia felt forced to stipulate to a stay of a patent infringement action against Daimler over this patent. It then fared better in the parallel nullity proceeding than originally expected, but it appears that--in the court's opinion--the patent isn't essential to the 4G or 5G cellular standards.

In early December I published a Nokia v. OPPO/OPPO v. Nokia battlemap and, in the same post, provided a recap of the key events. Since then, OPPO has fended off a couple more lawsuits in Germany. Cases are pending in multiple jurisdictions and I'll try to find out more about the latest developments in other places.

The dispute started a year and a half (plus a few days) ago. OPPO has shown that it's the smartphone maker you don't want to sue if your objective is to get quick results. This protracted battle proves costly, not only in terms of litigation expenses but also because of patents being deemed invalid or non-standard-essential. This kind of "weeding out" may create problems for future defendants to Nokia's enforcement actions, but in the short term, the OPPO litigation is not really a profitable one for Nokia to pursue. Nokia needs an exit strategy from this. Maybe a Chinese FRAND determination will present an opportunity to put the global dispute behind them.