For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

What's the difference between a cat and an IPCom patent ...?

Is it easier to license a
cat for mobile telephony
than to license an
IPCom patent?
A very cheerful correspondent from Nokia was in touch with the IPKat yesterday, bearing news of Nokia GmbH v Ipcom GmbH & Co KG [2012] EWHC 225 (Pat), a Patents Court for England and Wales ruling of Mr Justice Floyd which had freshly been delivered to an excited readership of IP enthusiasts and mobile telephone manufacturers. The case itself isn't particularly juicy for lawyers. It's mainly full of all the usual stuff about experts, the claims, skilled addressees and so on. There weren't even any of the entertaining battles over the proper legal principles on which claims should be construed or inventive step established -- presumably because, after three decades of heated debate, we now know what they are. However, Nokia had this to say about the outcome:
"Today, the ... High Court has found IPCom’s patent EP1 018 849 B1 (UK) ( Bosch #173) invalid and, importantly, that it is not essential to any of the major telecommunications standards. Nokia is pleased with today’s decision. It marks the sixtieth patent invalid as granted since IPCom began its aggressive campaign against Nokia and other industry players more than four years ago.

Since then, Nokia has successfully defended itself against IPCom’s alleged best patents in 32 cases across 3 countries, in both civil and criminal allegations. Not one of IPCom’s patents has been found valid as granted, and the courts have so far ordered IPCom to pay Nokia more than EUR 10 million in legal costs for its baseless actions.

IPCom’s behaviour continues to fall short of its commitments made to the European Commission, such as its attempts to stop sales of products accused of infringing standards essential patents. Its track record in litigating the patents shows that IPCom’s claims for the value of the portfolio have been grossly overestimated.

Says Paul Melin, VP of Intellectual Property at Nokia “With 60 of its patents now invalid as granted, IPCom should draw some conclusions and end its unrealistic demands for what remains of this significantly weakened portfolio”".
A list of the 60 IPCom patents was kindly supplied by the Kat's correspondent. Fortunately this Kat didn't notice the small print that reads "Nokia Internal Use Only" until after he uploaded the list for the benefit of his readers here.

Though he's not much good with a pocket calculator, the IPKat is a dab hand (paw, actually) with the abacus. He thus understands that the costs which IPCom has paid out to Nokia now exceed the US$ 12.5 million which Bosch charged Samsung for its patent portfolio in the first place -- a portfolio from which IPCom has sought 12 billion Euro from Nokia in patent licence fees.  The Kat wonders just  how FRANDly this licence demand might be considered in the context of Google’s US$ 12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola.

Merpel says, what's the betting that there's another side to this story.  We're not talking about the Evil Empire here, are we? Presumably IPCom has rational grounds on which to pursue its course of apparently highly unsuccessful action.

For more on standards and FRAND licences in the telecoms sector, just go to the IP Finance weblog and key 'Keith Mallinson' into the little search box in the top left hand corner of the screen.

3 comments:

Gentoo said...

"Fortunately this Kat didn't notice the small print that reads "Nokia Internal Use Only" until after he uploaded the list for the benefit of his readers here."

Out of curiosity - is your decision
a) illegal (you've infringed in the letter of the law)
b) immoral (spirit)
c) neither

if (c) can you give me a clue? Is your answer related in any way to the principles in AnyDVD?

Jeremy said...

Oh, Gentoo, it's just a little bit of this Kat's British sense of humour. While the document does indeed stipulate "Nokia Internal Use Only", it was sent by Nokia to this weblog for dissemination. I was just having a little fun at the expense of whoever it was at Nokia who forgot to delete the legend!

Thanks, by the way, for your many contributions to this blog by way of comments posted over the years. You have done much to enrich the IP perspectives of all of us.

Gentoo said...

Thank you for your reply and the compliment.

I didn't have a sense of humour failure (hence reference to AnyDVD).

Over in geek land emails might have "include std_disclaimer.h* in the footer as a hilarious (to us, anyway) reference to the irrelevant boiler plate appended to emails.

I wondered if your original comment was a similar dig at irrelevant headers on attachments from a copyright perspective or similar.

*yes all you C and C++ programmers out there, the syntax is wrong but the blog software doesn't like the brackets

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