The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, August 26, unanimously dismissed appeals by Chinese mobile technology companies Huawei and ZTE in patent disputes with Unwired Planet International Ltd and Conversant Wireless Licensing.
The Supreme Court affirmed a decision that Huawei would either have to pay Unwired Planet International a global rate set by judges or face an order limiting its British sales. In a related decision involving another patent owner, the court rejected Huawei and ZTE Corp.’s argument that, if any court were to establish a global rate, it should be in China, where manufacturing and the bulk of sales are located.
While Huawei said it’s since settled with Unwired Planet’s parent company, the ruling could effectively make British courts a one-stop shop to set global royalty rates. It also could set off a competition should other countries, such as China, Germany and the US, decide they want to be the arbiter of these disputes. Since the original ruling, UK tribunals have already become more popular with patent owners.
Companies worldwide are fighting over who will profit from fundamental technology in wireless communications. The cases have pitted the owners of patents on standardized technology, including Qualcomm and Ericsson AB, against those who use the systems in their products, including Apple.
Full Content: Bloomberg
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