Saturday, February 25, 2023

Chinese network infrastructure maker Datang sues Samsung over six 4G standard-essential patents in Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court

Today a reader made me aware of new standard-essential patent (SEP) litigation activity in China: Datang Mobile is suing Samsung in the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court over six 4G/LTE SEPs, seeking a total of approximately 120 million RMB (US$17 million) in damages. I did a short LinkedIn post to ask around whether other readers could contribute additional information.

In a November 2022 post on Sisvel's narrowband-IoT pool, Datang was mentioned as a licensor that builds mobile networks. Datang's DTmobile unit is also an Avanci 4G licensor.

I've been provided with a shareholder report that has the following headline:



Here's a Google translation of the headline:

CITIC Mobile Communication Technology Co., Ltd.

Announcement of Subsidiary's Litigation

That document is dated February 6, 2023. The patent numbers are redacted (2009XX.1, 2012XX.1, 2011XX.3, 2011XX.X, 2010XX.0, and 2009XX.3). The defendants are described as "Samsung (China) Investment Co., Ltd. and other companies".

While Datang's cellular SEPs are not often mentioned in the Western world (basically just in connection with pools), it is a significant 4G and 5G SEP holder. As a network infrastructure maker, Datang understands the implementer's perspective.

About a month ago, Samsung renewed a patent cross-license agreement with Nokia. Two years ago, Samsung had a short-lived dispute with Ericsson. Samsung's licensing team often manages to avoid litigation.

The damages amount Datang is seeking in the aggregate of those six Chinese cases is almost certainly not what the dispute is really about. Datang holds many more patents, and particularly also plenty of patents outside of China. Furthermore, it has apparently requested an injunction.