UK courts continue to lead the way on FRAND rates


Mark Marfé

UK courts continue to lead the way on FRAND rates

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InterDigital saw its claimed rate cut in a case that showed licensees can legitimately change their minds over terms, explains Mark Marfé of Pinsent Masons.

The England and Wales High Court has, on March 16, handed down its second-ever global fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing decision.

The judgment confirms the approach taken by the UK Supreme Court and in Birss J’s (as he then was) landmark first, instance judgment in Unwired Planet. This decision also provides further guidance as to how the parties negotiating such licences should conduct themselves. 

The dispute between Lenovo, an implementer which specialises in designing, manufacturing, and marketing consumer electronic devices including mobile telephones, and InterDigital, which designs and develops a range of advanced technologies that are used in digital cellular and wireless products and networks, including 2G, 3G, 4G, arose over the licensing terms for use of telecoms patents owned by InterDigital. These had been declared essential (standard-essential patents, or SEPs) to the operation of the 3G, 4G and 5G standards set out by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

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