在欧洲联盟法院华为诉中兴通信案判决后所做成的判例
gb jp cn

回到4iP Council主页

Case law search


Updated 19 十月 2020

大陆集团诉诺基亚

慕尼黑高级地区法院
12 十二月 2019 - Case No. 6 U 5042/19

A. 事实

诺基亚(Nokia)持有多项被宣告为实施3G和4G无线通信技术标准时必要的专利(以下称“标准必要专利 ”或“SEPs“)。戴姆勒(Daimler)是全球最大的汽车制造商之一。总部位于德国的跨国公司集团——大陆集团(Continental)——则是戴姆勒的供应商。

诺基亚于2019年3月就其所持有的几项德国标准必要专利分别在德国慕尼黑、杜塞尔多夫、以及曼海姆地区法院对戴姆勒公司提起了十项专利侵权诉讼(以下称“德国侵权诉讼“)。 其后,大陆集团旗下的两家公司——德国子公司Continental Automotive GmbH以及匈牙利子公司Continental Automotive Hungary Kft.——在戴姆勒向其发出第三方通知之后,以诉讼参加人的身份 加入了德国侵权诉讼的诉讼程序。

大陆集团在美国的另一子公司——大陆汽车系统股份有限公司(以下称“美国大陆公司“)于2019年5月10日在美国加利福尼亚北区地区法院( 以下称”美国法院“)对诺基亚及其他数个公司提起了诉讼,指控诺基亚违反反垄断法。

美国大陆公司并于2019年6月12日向法院提起了禁诉令动议,要求美国法院禁止诺基亚在德国进行侵权诉讼程序(以下称“美国禁诉令动议“)。美国法院给予诺基亚机会在2019年7月24日的最后期限截止之前对禁诉令动议作出回应。

诺基亚于2019年7月9日向慕尼黑地区法院(以下称“地区法院“)提起了一项要求核发临时禁令的动议。诺基亚要求地区法院判令美国大陆公司撤回其在美国所提起的禁诉令动议,并禁止其未来再度申请禁诉令或其他相类似的措施。

此外,诺基亚还要求法院对大陆集团的德国母公司(以下称”德国大陆公司“)发出命令,要求其确保美国大陆公司撤回于美国提起的禁诉令动议以及其他几项主张的执行。 地区法院于2019年7月11日核准了诺基亚要求对美国大陆公司核发临时禁令的主张 [1]

地区法院并于2019年7月30日向德国大陆公司发出了禁令,判令德国大陆公司必须确保其子公司将会撤回于美国提起的禁诉令动议 [2] 。德国大陆公司对此决定提起上诉。

美国大陆公司于2019年9月3日撤回了其在美国提起的禁诉令动议。然而,美国大陆公司再度于2019年10月8日在美国法院提起了对诺基亚核发临时禁止令(TRO)的动议,要求法院禁止诺基亚在德国境内对大陆集团旗下各公司以及其客户主张专利权。这项动议遭到法院拒绝。

慕尼黑高级地区法院(以下称”上诉法院“)在其于2019年12月12日做成的当前判决中 [3] (引自https://www.gesetze-bayern.de/Content/Document/Y-300-Z-BECKRS-B-2019-N-33196?hl=true&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport= 1)驳回了德国大陆公司的上诉,并维持了地区法院于2019年7月30日所核发的禁令。


B. 法院的论理

上诉法院认为,诺基亚有权要求对德国大陆公司核发禁令,以防止后者对其财产权的直接非法侵害威胁。

根据德国法律,美国法院所授予的禁诉令或临时禁止令(TRO)将会构成对诺基亚财产权的非法侵害——诺基亚对戴姆勒行使其因持有专利而产生的排他性权利将会在未决的德国侵权诉讼程序中被剥夺 [4]

尽管美国大陆公司于此同时已经撤回了其于美国所提起的禁诉令动议,但因采取此类措施而对诺基亚财产权产生的威胁仍然迫在眉睫。上诉法院认为,美国大陆公司对诺基亚提起新的临时禁止令(TRO)动议的行为即可以表明其尚未放弃采取该项策略 [5]

此两项动议均是由美国大陆公司而非德国大陆公司所提起的这一事实并不能排除禁令仍然可以针对后者核发 [6] 。上诉法院赞同了地区法院的观点,认为德国大陆公司应该被视为其美国子公司提起动议行为的“共同实施人”,因其无法提供任何证据来反驳诺基亚在诉讼中提出有关美国大陆公司所采取的行为是在其德国母公司知情/同意的情况下而为之的主张 [7]

此外,上诉法院更明确指出,地区法院于一审判决中所核发的“反禁诉令”是符合法律上要求的 [8] 。德国大陆公司的主张基本上在于其认为地区法院的禁令不应在德国境内核发,因为此一禁令与美国法院的禁诉令具有相同的效果,即为剥夺美国大陆公司在美国法院诉讼程序中主张其权利的机会。

于此范围内,上诉法院与地区法院并不同意此项观点,并裁定德国法院所核发的禁诉令是合法的,因其仅仅涉及美国大陆公司所提起的一项辅助性动议(即禁诉令动议),对美国大陆公司在美国对诺基亚提起的主要诉讼程序没有任何影响 [9] 。上诉法院裁定认为,在通常情况下并没有理由阻止诉讼中的一方通过法院命令的方式来从事只是辅助性动议的行为 [9]

上诉法院还认为,德国法院所核发的反禁诉令是合法的,因为正如诺基亚所主张的那样,德国法院所核发的反禁诉令是对抗美国法院的禁诉令“唯一有效的抗辩护手段” [10] 。此外,在本案中,认可诺基亚捍卫自己免受非法法律手段侵害的利益凌驾于美国大陆公司享有行为自由的利益之上是有理由的 [11]

此外,诺基亚原则上可以与参在美国进行的禁诉令诉讼程序这一事实并不意味着诺基亚就不能够在德国取得反禁诉令。上诉法院认为原因在于禁诉令的核发对诺基亚继续进行其在德国侵权诉讼程序的权利可能产生的影响并不会是美国法院在决定是否核准美国大陆公司所提起的禁诉令动议时所考虑的因素 [12] 。诺基亚因此将无法在于美国法院提起的诉讼程序中充分捍卫其权利。

有关美国法院所核发的禁诉令在德国很可能无法执行此一事实同样与本案无关 [13] 。上诉法院指出,诺基亚因为不能遵守禁诉令而将需要在美国支付的罚款实际上将迫使诺基亚停止在德国侵权诉讼中主张其专利权 [14]

另外,上诉法院认为,德国地区法院所核发的“反禁诉令”并未违反国际法,因其对美国法院的管辖权并没有造成任何直接影响,因此也没有对美国的主权产生挑战 [15]

最后,上诉法院强调到,地区法院的裁决亦未违反欧盟法律。事实上欧盟法律于此甚至都没有其适用,因为本案所涉及的只是德国专利权遭到本国国内实体侵权的情 况 [16]

  • [1] Nokia v Continental, District Court of Munich, Order dated 11 July 2019, Case-No. 21 O 3999/19。
  • [2] Nokia v Continental, District Court of Munich, Order dated 30 July 2019, Case-No. 21 O 9512/19。
  • [3] Nokia v Continental, Higher District Court of Munich, decision dated 12 December 2019, Case-No. 6 U 5042/19。
  • [4] 同上注, 段 55。
  • [5] 同上注, 段 56。
  • [6] 同上注, 段 76 及以下。
  • [7] 同上注, 段 81 及以下。
  • [8] 同上注, 段 58 及以下。
  • [9] 同上注, 段 59 及以下。
  • [10] 同上注, 段 69 及段72。
  • [11] 同上注, 段 69。
  • [12]  同上注, 段 70。
  • [13] 同上注, 段 70。
  • [14] 同上注, 段 71。
  • [15] 同上注, 段 73。
  • [16] 同上注, 段 74。

Updated 4 六月 2020

Sisvel v Xiaomi, Court of Appeal of The Hague

荷兰法院判决
17 三月 2020 - Case No. C/09/573969/ KG ZA 19-462

A. Facts

Sisvel International S.A. (Sisvel) is the parent company of the Sisvel group [17] . In 2012, Sisvel acquired EP 1 129 536 B1 (EP 536) [18] . EP 536 relates to the EGPRS technology, which forms part of a GSM telecommunications standard that implements EDGE [19] .

Xiaomi is a manufacturer of mobile phones with headquarters in China [20] .

On 10 April 2013, Sisvel submitted to the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) a declaration under which it committed to make a list of patents, including EP 536, accessible to standard users under Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms and conditions (FRAND commitment) [21] .

On 15 October 2013, Sisvel notified Xiaomi about its Wireless Patent Portfolio [19] . On 16 July 2014, Sisvel sent a letter to Xiaomi, inviting Xiaomi to contact Sisvel regarding to the conclusion of a licence [19] . Further e-mails were sent to Xiaomi on 3 December 2014, 4 December 2014 and 5 March 2015 [19] .

In an article dated 29 March 2019 published on nu.nl [22] and ad.nl [22] , Xiaomi announced that it would enter the Dutch market with online shops and physical stores [23] .

On 23 April 2019, Sisvel initiated legal proceedings against Xiaomi before the English High Court of Justice in London (English proceedings) [24] . Sisvel requested the court to declare that the terms and conditions of the MCP Pool Licence, under which EP 536 as part of the Wireless Patent Portfolio is licensed [25] , are FRAND or alternatively, to determine FRAND licensing terms and conditions and find three patents (including EP 536) to be valid and infringed [24] .

On 30 August 2019, Xiaomi filed two legal actions against Sisvel in Beijing [26] . Xiaomi asked, in one of the cases, the court to determine FRAND terms and conditions for a licence limited to China and, in the other case, to declare that Sisvel had abused its dominant position [19] .

In the Netherlands, Sisvel requested a preliminary injunction against Xiaomi, until Xiaomi accepts Sisvel’s offer to go to arbitration, as well as the recall and destruction of products, information over profit made and additional documentation with respect to resellers, a penalty fee, and – as a subsidiary motion – the removal of the EGPRS/EDGE extension of the GSM functionality [27] . With judgment dated 1 August 2019, the Court of The Hague rejected Sisvel’s claims in first instance and sentenced Sisvel to the process costs, in view of the balance of interests between the parties and the complexity of the case [28] .

Sisvel appealed the first instance decision on 29 August 2019 [29] . During the course of the appeal proceedings, on 22 January 2020, Xiaomi deposited funds [30] on an escrow account held by Intertrust [31] . With the present judgment, the Court of Appeal of The Hague (Court) rejected Sisvel’s appeal and sentenced Sisvel to higher process costs [32] .

B. Court’s reasoning

The Court focused on the balance of interests between the parties.

Injunction

The Court considered that the harm caused to Sisvel by the infringement of EP 536 was limited, taking into account only infringing uses in the Netherlands, as well as the fact that EP 536 is only one out of many patents held by Sisvel, and almost expired [33] . Considering that Sisvel’s business model is to conclude licences, Sisvel did not have to fear damages caused by free riding on the cellphone market, but only damages resulting from denied profits under a license [34] . Therefore, only financial damages could incur which the Court considers to be relatively simply compensated at a later point in time [35] . Additionally, Xiaomi had provided security [35] . The security addresses the problem raised by Sisvel, i.e. Xiaomi becoming insolvent and unable to pay damages for patent infringement [19] .

With respect to Xiaomi’s interest, the Court noted that an injunction would force Xiaomi to stop sales, close shops in the Netherlands and stop its distribution contracts with customers [36] . The consequences would thus be severe and could hardly be undone, even if Xiaomi could resume sales again after the expiration of EP 536 [19] . The only way for Xiaomi to avoid those consequences would be to take a license, which also brings important consequences. Indeed, the MCP license offered by Sisvel is not only for EP 536 but for more than 1000 patents in all countries worldwide [37] . By accepting a licence Xiaomi would be irrevocably bound to comply with it, including with its rate [38] . The stop of sales in the Netherlands would create loss of profits for Xiaomi and worsen its relationships with its customers [19] . The Court highlighted such damages are difficult to evaluate as Xiaomi is still building its market position and there are many other players on the market [19] .

The Court further argued that the case was complex for a preliminary decision, because it required an opinion on the validity and scope of a patent protecting a complex technology as well as an assessment of Xiaomi’s FRAND defence, for which parties have arguments over many facts and the principles to determine a FRAND rate [39] . Additionally, the court that would be entrusted with the main proceedings could have a different opinion on the validity of the technology and the FRAND defence [19] . Therefore, the Court concluded there was no reason, even if the patent was valid and the FRAND defence had to be rejected, to force Xiaomi to leave the Dutch market or to take a licence from Sisvel [19] . The Court found that Xiaomi’s interest to reject the request for a preliminary injunction was stronger than Sisvel’s interest to stop the continuation of the infringement [39] .

The Court also rejected Sisvel’s claim that Xiaomi was an unwilling licensee [40] . Such claim could be used to invalidate Xiaomi’s FRAND defence, but the Court stated that the examination of Xiaomi’s FRAND defence had to be separated from the balance of interests’ assessment in preliminary proceedings [19] .

Reviewing Sisvel’s request based on the EU enforcement directive 2004/48 and Article 9 of such directive did not lead the Court to another conclusion: in light of the enforcement directive, the injunction would not be proportionate in this case, therefore the Court had no obligation to use Article 9 of the EU enforcement directive [41] .

Even in combining the application of Article 3 of the EU enforcement directive, Article 5, 17 and 47 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights the Court came to the same interpretation: an injunction for the limited remaining time of EP 536 would not help [42] . The lack of an injunction would not unreasonably delay the case as the Court argued that the effective remedy would be compensation for the damages in main proceedings [19] . Additionally, the Court found this conclusion to be supported by the fact that Sisvel had only initiated main proceedings against other parties in the Netherlands and abroad [19] .

Sisvel’s claim that the lack of an injunction would create an unfair playing field between market participants was also rejected by the Court [43] . The Court stated that Xiaomi’s security and the possibility for Sisvel to get compensation for damages in main proceedings created an equal playing field [19] . Sisvel had relied on a decision of the Dutch Supreme Court, according to which a patent can only be effectively protected if there is a quick stop to further infringement [44] . The Court explained that this is the case only when the damages for patent infringement are difficult to determine; this was, however, not the case here [19] .

Security

The Court rejected Sisvel’s claim that the deposit on the escrow account had been made in such a way that it would be impossible for Sisvel to get paid [45] . Indeed, the Court underlined that Sisvel can unilaterally reclaim payment, especially if a FRAND rate is determined in the English proceedings [19] . Moreover, Xiaomi declared itself to be ready to adapt the amount placed on the escrow account in close cooperation with Sisvel, if Sisvel wishes to do so or has requests about the escrow account [19] . The Court noted it did not seem Sisvel made use of this possibility to adapt the amount [19] .

The amount deposited for fees under Sisvel’s MCP Patent Licence was considered as sufficient by the Court for the products sold in the Netherlands for the lifetime of EP 536 [46] . The Court added that this would still be the case even in the event that Sisvel wanted to increase the licensing rate for non-compliant users or to account for profits based on the infringement [19] . The Court underlined that in the Huawei v. ZTE decision of the CJEU [47] , the security had to be “appropriate”, which depends on the context of the FRAND defence [19] .

Recall and destruction of products

Sisvel’s request to have infringing products recalled and destroyed, as well as all mentions about those products removed, resellers informed and profits provided was rejected by the Court [48] . Sisvel had asserted the same urgent interest as for the preliminary injunction to support this request: stopping and preventing infringement of EP 536. Since the request for a preliminary injunction failed, the further claims asserted by Sisvel had to follow the same fate [19] . The Court stated that there was no urgent interest to have Xiaomi disclosing its profits, or at least that was more important than having Xiaomi keeping this information confidential [19] . Sisvel did also not explain why profits data should be disclosed in advance of the main proceedings [19] .

C. Other important issues

The Court also denied Sisvel’s request to grant a preliminary injunction, as long as Xiaomi did not agree to initiating arbitration procedures [49] . The Court argued that if Xiaomi would be forced to have an arbitration tribunal determining the terms and conditions for all patents of the MCP Patent Licence for the whole world, this would deprive Xiaomi of its fundamental right of access to a court [19] . The acceptance of such arbitration proposal without conditions would have drastic consequences on Xiaomi’s position [19] .

  • [17] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 2, par.2.2.
  • [18] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 2, par.2.4.
  • [19] Ibidem
  • [20] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 2, par.2.8.
  • [21] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 2, par.2.5.
  • [22] Dutch newspaper.
  • [23] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 4, par.2.11.
  • [24] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 4, par.2.12.
  • [25] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, pages 3 and 4, par.2.7 and 2.12.
  • [26] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 4, par.2.13.
  • [27] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 4, par.2.14.
  • [28] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, pages 4 and 5, par.3.3.
  • [29] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 2, par.1.
  • [30] Amount has been redacted.
  • [31] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 5, par.3.5.
  • [32] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, pages 10 and 11, par. 4.24 and following.
  • [33] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 5, par.4.3.
  • [34] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, pages 5 and 6, par.4.3.
  • [35] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 6, par.4.3.
  • [36] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 6, par.4.7.
  • [37] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, pages 6 and 7, par.4.8.
  • [38] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 7, par.4.9.
  • [39] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 7, par.4.11.
  • [40] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 7, par.2.12.
  • [41] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 8, par.4.14.
  • [42] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 8, par.4.15.
  • [43] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 8, par.4.16.
  • [44] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, pages 8 and 9, par.4.17.
  • [45] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 6, par. 4.5.
  • [46] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 6, par. 4.6.
  • [47] Court of Justice of the European Union, Huawei Technologies Co.Ltd. v. ZTE Corp. and ZTE Deutschland GmbH, 16 July 2015.
  • [48] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 9, par. 4.2.1.
  • [49] Court of Appeal of The Hague, judgement dated 17 March 2020, page 9, par.4.18.