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Updated 19 10月 2020

Continental対Nokia

OLG Munich
12 12月 2019 - Case No. 6 U 5042/19

A. 内容

Nokiaは、3G及び4Gの無線通信標準の実施に必須のものとして宣言済みのいくつかの特許(標準必須特許又はSEP)を保有している。Daimlerは、世界最大の自動車製造会社の一つである。Continentalは、ドイツに本社を置く世界的な企業グループであり、Daimlerのサプライヤーの1つである。

2019年3月、Nokiaは、自社のドイツSEPに基づきDaimlerに対する合計10件の侵害訴訟をドイツのミュンヘン、デュッセルドルフ、及びマンハイムの各地方裁判所において提起した(ドイツでの侵害訴訟)。Daimlerが出した第三者への通知を受けて、Continental グループの2社(ドイツにおける子会社「Continental Automotive GmbH」とハンガリーにおける子会社「Continental Automotive Hungary Kft.」)がドイツでの侵害訴訟に補助参加人(intervener)として参加した。

2019年5月10日、Continentalグループのアメリカに拠点を置く子会社「the United States, Continental Automotive Systems Inc. (Continental US)」がNokiaによる反トラスト法違反を主張し、カリフォルニア州北部地区連邦地方裁判所 (米国裁判所)においてNokia等に対する訴訟を提起した。

2019年6月12日、Continental USは、Nokiaに対してドイツでの侵害訴訟の遂行を禁じる外国訴訟差止命令を求める申立て(外国訴訟差止命令を求める米国での申立て) も米国裁判所に対して行った。米国裁判所は、Nokiaが外国訴訟差止命令を求める申立てに応答するための応答期限を2019年7月24日までとした。

2019年7月9日、Nokiaはミュンヘン地方裁判所(地方裁判所)に対して予備的差止命令を求める申立てを行った。Nokiaは、外国訴訟差止命令を求める米国での申立てを取り下げること及び外国訴訟差止命令又はこれに類する措置を求める将来的な申立てを差し控えることをContinental USに命ずるよう地方裁判所に求めた。これに加えて、Nokiaは、Continentalグループのドイツの親会社(Continental Germany)に対しても、とりわけ、Continental USに外国訴訟差止命令を求める米国での申立てを確実に取り下げさせることを命ずるよう(地方裁判所に)求めた。

2019年7月11日、地方裁判所は、Nokiaが求めた予備的差止命令をContinental USに対して発出した  [1]  。

2019年7月30日、地方裁判所はContinental Germanyに対しても差止命令を出し、同社の当該子会社(Continental US)に外国訴訟差止命令を求める米国での申立てを確実に取り下げさせるよう命じた  [2] 。Continental Germanyはこの判決を不服として控訴した。

2019年9月3日、Continental USは外国訴訟差止命令を求める米国での申立てを取り下げた。しかし、Continental USは、2019年10月8日に Nokiaに対する仮制止命令(Temporary Restraining Order: TRO) を求める申立てを米国裁判所に対して行い、Nokiaが自社のドイツ特許をContinentalグループの会社及びそのクライアントに対して主張することを禁じるよう同裁判所に求めた。この申立ては却下された。

2019年12月12日の 本判決 [3]  (https://www.gesetze-bayern.de/Content/Document/Y-300-Z-BECKRS-B-2019-N- 33196?hl=true&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1を引用)により、ミュンヘン高等裁判所(高等裁判所)は、Continental Germanyによる控訴を棄却し、地方裁判所が2019年7月30日に出した差止命令を維持した。

B. 判決理由

高等裁判所は、Nokiaには自社の財産権を直接的かつ不法な脅威から守るためにContinental Germanyに対する差止命令を得る権利があると判断した。

ドイツ法の下では、米国裁判所の出す外国訴訟差止命令又はTROはNokiaの財産権への不正な侵害に該当するだろうとされた。それらはNokiaが自社の特許から発生する排他性を係属中のドイツでの侵害訴訟においてDaimlerに対し強制する権利をNokiaから奪うだろうとの判断である [4]

前述の各措置から発生するNokiaの財産権への脅威は、Continental USが既に外国訴訟差止命令を求める米国での申立てを取り下げてはいたものの、依然として緊急であるとされた。高等裁判所は、Continental USがNokiaに対するTRO を求めて新たな申立てを提起したことは、原告側が未だその戦略を捨てていないことを示しているとの見解をとった [5]  。

また、何れの申立ても(Continental Germanyではなく)Continental USが提起したという事実は、Continental Germanyに対する差止命令を排除するものではないとされた  [6] 。高等裁判所は、Continental USがドイツの親会社の認知/承諾を得て行為していたことを示唆するNokiaの申立てに対抗するための証拠をContinental Germanyが示していないため、Continental Germanyはその米国子会社が米国で提起した申立ての「共同実行者(co-perpetrator)」とみなされるべきであるとの地方裁判所の見解を維持した [7] [135]。

更に、高等裁判所は第一審において地方裁判所が下した 「外国訴訟差止命令に対する差止命令(anti-anti-suit injunction)」が法的に許容できることを明確にした [8]  。 Continental Germanyは、地方裁判所の差止命令は米国における外国訴訟差止命令と同じ効果をもつ(つまり、米国の訴訟手続きにおいて自らの権利を主張する機会をContinental USから奪う)ため、ドイツにおいて認容されるべきではなかったと基本的にと主張していた。

高等裁判所は、ドイツにおける外国訴訟差止命令に対する差止命令(anti-anti-suit injunction)がContinental USの提起した補助的申立て(外国訴訟差止命令を求める申立て) のみに関するものであり、米国でNokiaに対して提起された主訴訟には影響を与えないため許容できると判断した点については、地方裁判所の判断に同意しなかった [9] 。高等裁判所は、たとえ補助的な申立てであったとしても、一般に、裁判所の命令で当事者による申立の提起を妨げることはできないと判断した [9]  。

しかし、高等裁判所は、ドイツにおける外国訴訟差止命令に対する差止命令は、Nokiaが主張していたように、米国での外国訴訟差止命令に対する「唯一の効果的な防御措置(only effective means of defence)」であるため許容できるとの見解をとった  [10]  。また、本事件においては、Continental USの行為の自由を維持する利益に対抗するためには、不法なanti-anti-suit injunctionに対して、Nokiaに自らの利益の防御を認めることが正当であると高等裁判所は判断した  [11] [140] 。

更に、高等裁判所は、Nokiaが、原則として、外国訴訟差止命令を求める米国での訴訟に参加する立場にあったとの事実は、外国訴訟差止命令に対する差止命令の裁定をドイツにおいてNokiaに与えることを妨げるものではなかった。高等裁判所によれば、その理由は、ドイツで侵害訴訟を遂行するNokiaの権利に対して外国訴訟差止命令が及ぼす影響は、外国訴訟差止命令を求めてContinental USの提起した申立てについて判断を下す際に米国裁判所が考慮する要素ではないためである[141]。従って、Nokiaは米国裁判所での訴訟において自らの利益を十分に防御することができないだろうと判断された。

米国の外国訴訟差止命令がドイツにおいては強制できない可能性が高いという事実も、同様に本事件では無意味であるとされた [12]  。高等裁判所は、外国訴訟差止命令に従わずに米国で罰金の支払いを求められれば、Nokiaは、事実上、自社の特許をドイツでの侵害訴訟において主張することを止めざるを得なかっただろうと指摘した  [13]  。

これに加えて、高等裁判所は、ドイツにおいて地方裁判所が裁定した「外国訴訟差止命令に対する差止命令(anti-anti-suit injunction)」は、米国裁判所の管轄権に直接的な影響を及ぼさず、よって、米国の主権を問題にするものではないため国際法に違反しないと判断した [14]

高等裁判所は、最後に、地方裁判所の判決がEU法に違反しないことも強調した。本事件は、ドイツ国内の法人によるドイツ特許への侵害に関するものであり、そもそも本事件にはEU法が適用されないとの判断である [15]

  • [1] Nokia対Continental、ミュンヘン地方裁判所、2019年7月11日命令、事件番号 21 O 3999/19。
  • [2] Nokia対Continental、ミュンヘン地方裁判所、2019年7月30日命令、事件番号 21 O 9512/19。
  • [3] Nokia対Continental、ミュンヘン高等裁判所、2019年12月12日判決、事件番号 6 U 5042/19
  • [4] 同判決、第55節。
  • [5] 同判決、第56節。
  • [6] 同判決、第76節以下。
  • [7] 同判決、第81節以下。
  • [8] 同判決、第58節以下。
  • [9] 同判決、第59節以下。
  • [10] 同判決、第69節及び第72節。
  • [11] 同判決、第69節。
  • [12] 同判決、第70節。
  • [13] 同判決、第71節。
  • [14] 同判決、第73節。
  • [15] 同判決、第74節。

Updated 4 6月 2020

Sisvel v Xiaomi, Court of Appeal of The Hague

オランダ裁判所の決定
17 3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 [16] . In 2012, Sisvel acquired EP 1 129 536 B1 (EP 536) [17] . EP 536 relates to the EGPRS technology, which forms part of a GSM telecommunications standard that implements EDGE [18] .

Xiaomi is a manufacturer of mobile phones with headquarters in China [19] .

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) [20] .

On 15 October 2013, Sisvel notified Xiaomi about its Wireless Patent Portfolio [18] . On 16 July 2014, Sisvel sent a letter to Xiaomi, inviting Xiaomi to contact Sisvel regarding to the conclusion of a licence [18] . Further e-mails were sent to Xiaomi on 3 December 2014, 4 December 2014 and 5 March 2015 [18] .

In an article dated 29 March 2019 published on nu.nl [21] and ad.nl [21] , Xiaomi announced that it would enter the Dutch market with online shops and physical stores [22] .

On 23 April 2019, Sisvel initiated legal proceedings against Xiaomi before the English High Court of Justice in London (English proceedings) [23] . 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 [24] , are FRAND or alternatively, to determine FRAND licensing terms and conditions and find three patents (including EP 536) to be valid and infringed [23] .

On 30 August 2019, Xiaomi filed two legal actions against Sisvel in Beijing [25] . 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 [18] .

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 [26] . 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 [27] .

Sisvel appealed the first instance decision on 29 August 2019 [28] . During the course of the appeal proceedings, on 22 January 2020, Xiaomi deposited funds [29] on an escrow account held by Intertrust [30] . With the present judgment, the Court of Appeal of The Hague (Court) rejected Sisvel’s appeal and sentenced Sisvel to higher process costs [31] .

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 [32] . 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 [33] . Therefore, only financial damages could incur which the Court considers to be relatively simply compensated at a later point in time [34] . Additionally, Xiaomi had provided security [34] . The security addresses the problem raised by Sisvel, i.e. Xiaomi becoming insolvent and unable to pay damages for patent infringement [18] .

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 [35] . The consequences would thus be severe and could hardly be undone, even if Xiaomi could resume sales again after the expiration of EP 536 [18] . 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 [36] . By accepting a licence Xiaomi would be irrevocably bound to comply with it, including with its rate [37] . The stop of sales in the Netherlands would create loss of profits for Xiaomi and worsen its relationships with its customers [18] . 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 [18] .

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 [38] . 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 [18] . 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 [18] . 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 [38] .

The Court also rejected Sisvel’s claim that Xiaomi was an unwilling licensee [39] . 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 [18] .

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 [40] .

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 [41] . 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 [18] . 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 [18] .

Sisvel’s claim that the lack of an injunction would create an unfair playing field between market participants was also rejected by the Court [42] . 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 [18] . 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 [43] . 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 [18] .

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 [44] . Indeed, the Court underlined that Sisvel can unilaterally reclaim payment, especially if a FRAND rate is determined in the English proceedings [18] . 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 [18] . The Court noted it did not seem Sisvel made use of this possibility to adapt the amount [18] .

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 [45] . 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 [18] . The Court underlined that in the Huawei v. ZTE decision of the CJEU [46] , the security had to be “appropriate”, which depends on the context of the FRAND defence [18] .

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 [47] . 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 [18] . 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 [18] . Sisvel did also not explain why profits data should be disclosed in advance of the main proceedings [18] .

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 [48] . 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 [18] . The acceptance of such arbitration proposal without conditions would have drastic consequences on Xiaomi’s position [18] .

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