On April 13th, Gizcoupon reported that Nokia had won a patent case against Vivo in the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany. The lawsuit involved Nokia’s 4G standard essential patents (SEPs). It may result in Vivo’s products being unable to be sold in Germany.
4G Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) refer to patents that must be used in 4G communication technology standards. Communication technology standards are technical specifications developed by industry organizations or standardization bodies to ensure that different communication devices can be compatible with each other and achieve interoperability. In addition, SEPs are patents that are essential to implementing the standard. Therefore all device manufacturers need to use these patents and pay licensing fees to the patent holder.
On April 11th, local time, Vivo posted an announcement on its German website. Gizcoupon translated the full text of the announcement as follows:
Vivo fully respects intellectual property rights and is committed to continuous innovation through extensive research and development. In recent years, Vivo has signed cross-licensing agreements with many leading companies. We have negotiated with Nokia regarding mutual updates, but so far, no agreement has been reached. We believe that Nokia has not fulfilled its obligation to provide licenses on FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms.
We are disappointed with the decision of the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany. We are prepared to suspend the sale and promotion of the products involved through Vivo’s official channels in Germany if necessary. We are preparing to appeal the decision and will review other options. At the same time, we will continue to negotiate with Nokia to resolve this matter in accordance with the FRAND terms.
Our plan to make a long-term commitment to the German market remains unchanged. Vivo will continue to operate in Germany in the future, and our customers can continue to rely on our services. This decision does not affect our business outside of Germany.
It is worth mentioning that in July of last year, the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that OPPO had infringed Nokia’s patents. Moreover, It granted Nokia an injunction against OPPO. Some devices of OPPO and OnePlus were banned from being sold in Germany.
In response, an OPPO representative said some products would be temporarily suspended in Germany. The company opposes high-priced patent fees and uses litigation to threaten licensees. However, OPPO respects intellectual property rights and advocates reasonable fees. The representative suggests resolving disputes in a friendly and respectful manner while valuing patents.