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Intellectual Ventures loses SEP dispute in Paris

Post Time:2024-07-03 Source: JUVE Patent Author:Konstanze Richter Views:

Intellectual Ventures has suffered another defeat in France. The Court of Appeal has now declared a patent belonging to the non-practising entity as invalid and not infringed, thereby confirming the first-instance decision from 2021. JUVE Patent attended the hearing.

Intellectual Ventures has been locked in a bitter dispute against various telecommunications companies for years. The NPE accuses the companies of infringing itsEP 1 694 020, which protects a multicarrier modulation system and method. Intellectual Ventures claims it as essential to the ADSL norm and filed suits against Orange, Bouygues Telecom and SFR (case IDs: 22/01207 and 22/01209 and 22/01211).

The defendants brought in DSL equipment manufacturer ECI Telecom, which was taken over by US-based software company Ribbon Communications, Infineon and Lantiq as third-party defendants. Furthermore, Huawei, Sagemcom, ZTE and Sercomm — suppliers of DSL boxes to Orange — also joined the suit as voluntary co-litigants.

Huawei, which had retainedAugust Debouzyin the first-instance proceedings, did not take part in the appeal proceedings due to previous settlements.

In september 2021, the first-instanceJudicial Court of Paris declared important claims of the French part of EP 020 invalidand consequently denied infringement (case IDs:17/13837, 17/13838 and 17/13839). The Court of Appeal has now confirmed this decision.

Tight schedule

At the appeal hearing on 21 March, which JUVE Patent attended, Julien Fréneaux fromBardehle Pagenbergargued on behalf of the plaintiff Intellectual Ventures. The French team of the German firm has represented the claimant since the beginning of the proceedings. The team is known for its extensive experience in litigating for NPEs. For example, the firm has also worked for IPCom in the past. Bardehle also represents Intellectual Ventures in parallel French proceedings concerning two other patents, as well as in the German dispute against Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica/O2 and Vodafone.

The defendants also retained advisors who have represented them in other disputes in France.

The panel of judges of the 2nd chamber of the court’s 5th division consisted of presiding judge Véronique Renard and judges Laurence Lehmann and Agnès Marcade. They gave Fréneaux one and a half hours for his plea. “After that, I’ll turn off the microphone,” threatened Renard.

owever, the arguments for the validity of EP 020 took up the majority of the allotted time. After more than an hour, not a word had been said on the question of infringement. Nevertheless, the judges did not turn off the microphone.

More to come in France

Further disputes are pending regarding two other Intellectual Ventures patents in France. In 2021,the EPO revoked EP 2 146 439. The French court stayed proceedings pending a decision by the EPO Boards of Appeal on the patent’s validity. However, according to JUVE Patent information, last week the BoA confirmed the opposition division’s decision to revoke the patent. The French proceedings may thus resume in time. However, the EPO has not yet published the decision.

In November 2022,the Paris Judicial Court revokedsome claims ofEP 1 327 374due to lack of novelty, while also dismissing the infringement claims. An appeal is pending.

In Germany, however, Intellectual Ventures reached a settlement with the three major network operators Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica/O2 and Vodafone in spring. Thus, after nine years,one of the biggest patent battles in Germany is at an end.