2 min

London court rules that China-based Lenovo must pay to use US company’s telecoms patents.

InterDigital this week announced that the UK’s High Court handed down its judgment in the company’s licensing dispute with Lenovo.

Delaware-based InterDigital is a mobile and video technology research and development company. Their licensing claim against Lenovo dates back over 15 years, and the decision by the London High Court is just the latest twist in a long running dispute.

The Lenovo-InterDigital litigation, which has so far featured five separate trials, centres on the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms of a licence for InterDigital’s patents.

A major FRAND finding

According to Reuters, Judge James Mellor said in his written ruling this week that previous offers made by both Lenovo and InterDigital – which had offered $337 million for a six-year licence – “were not made on FRAND terms”.

Accordingly, he said that Lenovo should pay a “lump sum” total of $138.7 million (€130.37 million) for a license to InterDigital’s portfolio of 3G, 4G and 5G patents, and should pay in full for past sales dating back to 2007. The Court will decide in due course whether additional interest is due on the past payments.

“We welcome the Court’s decision as the first major SEP FRAND judgment that recognizes that a licensee should pay in full for the past infringement of standard essential patents and we agree with the Court that this could be a powerful way of guarding against patent holdout in the future,” commented Josh Schmidt, Chief Legal Officer, InterDigital. “However, we plan to appeal, as we believe that certain aspects of the decision do not accurately reflect our licensing program.”

John Mulgrew, Lenovo’s chief intellectual property officer, told Reuters that the decision “reinforces FRAND’s critical role in facilitating transparent and equitable licensing practices for standardized technologies”.