13 October 2020

Gear up for car patent wars: success for Nokia in SEP dispute against Daimler

In this article for Intellectual Property Magazine, partner Andrew White discusses how the automotive ‘patent battles’ are heating up in light of the Nokia dispute.

The automotive standards essential patents (SEPs) wars are heating up. The decision of the Mannheim regional court in Germany, which was announced on 18 August 2020, secured a win for Nokia against the Mercedes carmaker Daimler, but many questions still remain. In particular, it is still not clear whether Tier 1 suppliers are required to be the licencees of any relevant SEPs or whether it is the carmakers themselves.

The decision related to only one of 10 connected suits filed by Nokia against Daimler, and the litigation has garnered much attention from other car makers, suppliers and even politicians. While the eye-wateringly high bond of €7bn required by Nokia to obtain an injunction against Daimler is very high, Nokia claims it will help bring Daimler back to the negotiating table. The decision itself also raises questions as to the conduct of the patent holder (Nokia), and it is expected that if Daimler is to appeal the decision, clarification would be sought from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

This article was originally published in Intellectual Property Magazine in October 2020 – click here to read the full version (login required).