Monday, May 15, 2023

OPPO has invalidated another two Nokia patents this month: European Patent Office revoked patents and rejected proposed amendments

The 5G patent dispute between Nokia and OPPO will "celebrate" it second anniversary in about six weeks. Nokia won and started to enforce some German injunctions, but OPPO decided to exit the market--for the time being, and who knows for how long. In other jurisdictions, Nokia did not get leverage either. As a result, the dispute drags on and on, with no resolution in sight.

The parties are attacking each other's patents, not only the patents-in-suit but also additional ones. They've both made some headway, but OPPO's challenges started earlier and that's why OPPO is ahead in terms of actual invalidation decisions (as opposed to preliminary opinions, several of which favor Nokia's attacks on OPPO patents).

OPPO is rather defensive and makes use of its patents only for retaliatory purposes, while patent licensing is a strategic business area for Nokia. Therefore, whatever patents OPPO manages to strike down has implications for what represents a major revenue source to Nokia.

None of the decisions so far is final as they can all be appealed, but this month OPPO has won two more favorable decisions from the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office:

  • On March 3, the EPO revoked, at the end of an oral hearing, EP3167669 on "apparatuses and methods to introduce flexible support for services" in its granted form and also rejected Nokia's proposed amendments to the claims.

  • As the result of an oral hearing on March 9, the EPO also revoked EP3395029 on "methods, apparatuses and computer program product for pdu formatting according to sdu segmentation", in the form in which it was granted and simultaneously rejecting Nokia's proposed amendments (click on the image to enlarge or read the text below the image):

    "The European patent is revoked because, account being taken of the amendments made by the patent proprietor during opposition proceedings, the patent and the invention to which it relates were found not to meet the requirements of the EPC (Art. 101(3)(b) EPC)."

A Chinese article provides an overview of 10 oppositions (nine by OPPO, and a tenth by a third party) to Nokia patents.

There'll be more news from this dispute, unless they settle, which they presumably will, but possibly later, not sooner...