Philips patent upheld in SEP clash with HTC

The English High Court has said a standard-essential patent (SEP) owned by Philips is valid and has been infringed by HTC and Asus Tek Computer.

Mr Justice Arnold made the ruling on Wednesday, May 23, in the first of what could be four decisions in the case. Philips has accused Taiwanese electronics companies HTC and Asus Tek of infringing three European (UK) patents that it has declared essential to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, a 3G standard.

The three patents—numbers 1 440 525; 1 685 659; and 1 623 511—cover the sections of the standard directed to the operation of the High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) system. HTC and Asus Tek sell HSPA-compatible mobile phones.

Arnold explained that the technical issues relating to the patents will be tried in two separate trials, with this first one examining the validity and essentiality of the ‘525 patent.

The second trial will focus on the same issues surrounding the other two patents, while two further trials will be conducted—if necessary—to cover “further technical issues that have subsequently emerged” and “issues relating to Philips’ undertaking to ETSI to grant licenses on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms”.

In this first trial, the defendants claimed that the ‘525 patent, which is called “Radio communications system” is obvious over two pieces of prior art. Arnold said it was common ground that it was necessary for him only to consider claim 10.

The judge said the patent was not obvious in light of either piece of prior art, and said the patent is valid and has been infringed.

In a typically long and detailed judgment by Arnold, the ruling stretched to 268 paragraphs, although the judge said the parties had filed a substantial volume of evidence despite the limited number and narrowness of the issues.

The judgment is the second on FRAND issued by the English High Court this week.

On Tuesday, the day before Arnold’s decision, Mr Justice Morgan ruled in a case between Apple and Qualcomm, issuing a mixed finding for the defendant Qualcomm and allowing most of the issues in the case to proceed to trial.

Source: World intellectual property review

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