Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Miscellany: Recent Developments on the FRAND Front, Torpedo Actions in Italy, and More

1.  Last week the EPLaw Blog published a post by Pierre Véron, Sabine Agé and Amandine Métier of Véron & Associés on Ericsson v. TCT Mobile, Tribunal de la grande Instance de Paris, Nov. 29, 2013, a case in which a French court denied Ericsson a preliminary injunction against TCT Mobile with regard to three standard essential patents.   The post also includes a copy of the opinion in the original French and in English translation.  The most interesting aspect of the decision is that, in light of the fact that the parties agreed to the geographical and technical scope of the license and were in the process of negotiating the amount, the court concluded:
. . . considering these very particular elements of context, in order to prevent a possible injunction measure from skewing the current negotiations between the parties to enable a party, if the need arises, to obtain an unjustified advantage within the framework of the contractual negotiations of a licence relating to essential patents, any request for an injunction to market products in France lodged by TELEFONAKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON is disproportionate.
2.  The Essential Patent Blog has had some interesting posts lately as well, including this one noting the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to close an investigation "focused on Samsung’s attempts to use its SEPs to obtain exclusion orders from the [ITC] relating to certain iPhone and iPad models"; this one on Apple's appellate arguments against exclusion orders for the infringement of FRAND-encumbered SEPs; and this one noting that Cisco and Innovatio IP Ventures LLC have settled their FRAND dispute, following Judge Holderman's October rate decision (which I blogged about here).  Also mentioning the U.S. DOJ's closure of the Samsung investigation, Foss Patents published an interesting post asking whether U.S. and E.U. antitrust regulators are taking too soft a line on SEP issues.

3.  Both Essential Patent and Foss Patents also have been tracking developments relating to India's antitrust investigations relating to Ericsson's licensing of FRAND-encumbered SEPs in India, see here and here; the IPcom v. Apple trial pending in Mannheim, see here and here; and, on Essential Patent, the litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, in which various parties have asserted claims for declaratory judgments and, in some instances, unfair competition claims as well, concerning the Rockstar Consortium's assertion of SEPs that it purchased from Nortel, see here.

4. My February 6 post cited an article by Daniel Hoppe-Jänisch in the October 2013 issue of GRUR RR, titled Die Rechtsprechung der Instanzgerichte zum Patent- und Gebrauchsmusterrecht seit dem Jahr 2011.  Since then Dr. Hoppe-Jänisch has brought to my attention an English-language version of the article, titled The Case Law of the German Courts of Instance (Instanzgerichte) for Patent Law and Utility Patent Law Since the Year 2011, available here.

5. Michele Giannino has published an article titled Italian Torpedo Actions Can Sink Cross-Border Patent Infringement Proceedings in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice.  The abstract is available here.  The article discusses a judgment of the Italian Court of Cassation (The General Hospital Corporation and others v Asclepion Laser Technologies, Court of Cassation, Sezioni Unite, Judgment of 10 June 2013, case no 14508/2013) holding "that Italian courts have jurisdiction to entertain an action seeking a declaration of non-infringement of different national fractions of a European patent." For further discussion of torpedo actions, see my book pp. 250-55 and this post on the Folien Fischer case.

6.  Professor Nicolas Bincton has published an article titled Le nouveau règlement européen de défense des droits de la propriété intellectuelle par saisie douanière ("The new European regulation of defense of intellectual property rights by customs seizure") in the January 2014 issue of Propriété Industrielle.  Here is the abstract (in the original French, followed by my rough translation):

Fruit de compromis, d’expériences, et de contraintes, le nouveau règlement (UE) no 608/2013 concernant la contrôle, par le autorités douanières, du respect des droits de propriété intellectuelle abroge le règlement (CE) no 1383/2003 et propose quelques avancées notoires.  La refonte du  règlement s’est réalisée dans un environnement tendu sous l’influence de deux facteurs majeurs:  d’une part, l’échec de la ratification de l’Accord commercial anti-contrefaçon (ACTA) signée à Tokyo et qui soutenait des pistes intéressantes pour renforcer, au travers de l’intervention des douanes, la lutte contre la contrefaçon et, d’autre part, l’intégration des interprétations retenues par la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne des dispositions du règlement en vigueur.

Fruit of compromises, experimentation, and constraints, the new Regulation (EU) No. 608/2013 concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights abrogates Regulation (CE) No. 1383/2003 and proposes some well-known advances.  The overhaul of the regulation is realized in an environment strained under the influence of two major factors:  on the one hand, the defeat of the ratification of ACTA, signed in Tokyo, which supported some notable tracks for enforcing, through customs intervention, the fight against infringement; and, on the other hand, the integration of the CJEU's interpretations of provisions of the regulation in force.
As I noted here last month, Thorsten Bauch and Anja Petersen-Padberg also have published a piece on the new regulation over on the Kluwer Patent Blog. 

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