Conversant welcomes latest Huawei/ZTE SEP ruling

In this article for World IP Review, Mathys & Squire partner Peter Gray provides his expert commentary on the recent High Court decision regarding Conversant Wireless’ patent ‘victory’.

Conversant Wireless Holdings has claimed victory in its latest patent battle with Chinese telecoms companies Huawei and ZTE.

In a decision issued yesterday, January 8 the English High Court ruled that two out of three Conversant patents-in-suit were partially valid, and standard-essential.

This entitles Conversant to recover a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing royalties for the patents.

Conversant has accused Huawei and ZTE of selling smartphone handsets that infringe its standard-essential patents (SEPs).

The patents relate to key functions of modern smartphones, including voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) and high-speed data transfers.

Huawei and ZTE had argued that the patents were invalid altogether, and not essential to the relevant telecommunications standards.

Reacting to the judgment, Conversant CEO Boris Teksler said the court had confirmed the “strength of the Conversant Wireless portfolio”.

Priority and subsequent filings

The ruling was not a total victory for Conversant, as the court ruled that one of the three patents was invalid altogether.

This is because a key claim of the patent was broader than the disclosure of the priority filing.

It follows another judgment of the court last July, which held that another Conversant patent was unenforceable because it was broader than the original patent filing. Conversant has appealed that judgment.

Peter Gray, partner at Mathys & Squire, said yesterday’s ruling was a “salient reminder of the dangers of broadening independent claims between priority and subsequent filings”.

Nonetheless, Gray said the latest ruling could be seen as a “qualified victory” for Conversant in the context of its wider patent dispute with Huawei and ZTE.

Click here to read the full WIPR article.

Key contact

Peter Gray