U.S. Litigation

A. Court Denies InterDigital's Motion to Dismiss in SEP Antitrust Suit

April 13, 2016: Microsoft alleged unlawful monopolization under Section 2 of the Sherman Act in relation to InterDigital's licensing of patents essential to standards set by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). In particular, Microsoft alleged that InterDigital falsely promised to license its standard-essential patents under FRAND terms to induce ETSI to incorporate InterDigital's patented technology into the 3G and 4G standards. InterDigital filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Microsoft failed to adequately plead a Section 2 monopolization claim. The court denied InterDigital's motion and held that Microsoft's complaint was sufficient for the case to proceed. Microsoft Mobile Inc. v. InterDigital Inc., No. 15-723-RGA, 2016 WL 1464545 (D. Del. Apr. 13, 2016) (See Memorandum Order.)

B. ITC Announces It Will Review Motion to Terminate Investigation

April 11, 2016: The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced that it will review the presiding administrative law judge's (ALJ) initial determination granting a joint motion to terminate an investigation on the basis of a settlement. The ITC instituted its investigation in April 2015, based on Ericsson's complaint alleging violations of Section 337 by Apple due to alleged infringement of standard-essential patents. In December 2015, Ericsson announced a global licensing deal with Apple that resolved patent disputes related to the ITC investigation, and included a cross-license that covers both companies' standard-essential patents. The ALJ granted the motion to terminate the investigation in March 2016. (See Notice.)

International

1. Unwired Planet Wins UK Patent Case Against Phone Makers

March 22, 2016: The UK High Court reportedly ruled that cell phone manufacturers Samsung and Huawei infringed a standard-essential patent held by Unwired Planet. The court reportedly held that telecommunications networks operating in accordance with certain GSM standards infringe the patent, and the patent is essential to those standards. (See Unwired Planet Press Release.)

2. India Releases Discussion Paper on Standard-Essential Patents and Requests Comments

March 1, 2016: The Government of India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion released a paper on standard-essential patents and FRAND terms. The paper has "the objective of inviting views and suggestions from the public at large to develop a suitable policy framework to define the obligations of Essential Patent holders and their licensees. This paper aims to sensitize the stakeholders, concerned organization[s] and citizens towards [the] need and importance of regulating SEPs as well as facilitating their availability" at FRAND terms. They requested comments from the public by April 22, 2016. (See India Discussion Paper on Standard-Essential Patents.)

3. Comments on India's Discussion Paper on Standard-Essential Patents Provided by George Mason University's Global Antitrust Institute

March 31, 2016: The George Mason University School of Law's Global Antitrust Institute provided comments to India expressing a concern "with the Discussion Paper's emphasis on holdup by patent holders, while omitting any concerns about holdup and holdout by implementers. Although there is serious and important scholarly work exploring the theoretical conditions under which holdup by patent holders might occur, this literature merely demonstrates the possibility that an injunction (or the threat of an injunction) against infringement of a patent can in certain circumstances be profitable for the licensor and potentially harmful to consumers." (See Global Antitrust Institute Comments.)

4. Canada Finalizes Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines on Conduct Concerning Standard-Essential Patents 

March 31, 2016: The Canadian Competition Bureau finalized guidelines that "illustrate the analytical framework that would be applied by the Bureau in conducting its review of business conduct involving patents that are essential to collaboratively determined industry standards." (See Canada Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines.)

5. Google Joins Fair Standards Alliance

March 31, 2016: The Fair Standards Alliance (FSA) announced that Google has become its 19th member. The FSA states that it "seeks to promote the licensing of standards-essential patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms." (See Fair Standards Alliance Press Release.)