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In 2012 Member States and the European Parliament agreed on the "patent package" - a legislative initiative consisting of two...

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Wireless wars in Europe

The wireless wars are being fought in Europe. Mannheim is a favoured venue for infringement actions and London is favoured for invalidity actions and declarations of non-infringment. One only has to look at the Nokia v. IPCom saga (page 3 of this newsletter) to see how useful it is to bring an invalidity action before the High Court in London if a patent holder is demanding royalties.

IPCom sued Nokia in Munich and Mannheim (the latter being known for its rocket docket). Nokia retaliated with invalidity actions in the High Court. IPCom "whinged" that Nokia were trying to make the litigation as expensive for IPCom as possible instead of co-operating to resolve matters in a single jurisdiction (i.e. IPCom's choice of jurisdiction). Lord Justice Jacob had no sympathy, saying:

This merely reminds me of that good old French dog (Cet animal est très méchant: si on l'attaque il se défend). IPCom were, we were told, asking for €12 billion. It could hardly expect anything other than that Nokia would fight back really hard. I have no sympathy for the "maximum cost" complaint . . . IPCom's investors could only reasonably have expected that mobile phone companies would not pay large sums without a fight.

After losing the first round, IP com faced a £1.3m bill for costs (31 March 2010). They conceded invalidity for a further tranche of patents. Round 1 to Nokia. Round 2 is described on pages 3 and 4 of this newsletter.

The High Court is also very much liked by HTC of Taiwan. They sued DataQuill in 2009 (settled before trial) and Yozmot 33 (decision of 20 March 2010 in which the patent was held only partially valid but HTC did not infringe any valid claim). Now HTC have sued Apple and trial is set for April 2012.