In the latest development of a legal saga that has been in play since 2021, Nokia has gained significant ground against Oppo. A UK court has ruled in favor of Nokia, imposing a *sales ban on Oppo in the UK. This follows a previous FRAND ban on Oppo in the UK which restricts the company from selling its products in the country due to their refusal to agree to fair licensing terms.
Setting the Stage: Patent Licensing Terms in Dispute
Back in July, the Supreme Court of England and Wales dismissed an argument from Oppo concerning the Nokia patent portfolio pricing. Oppo had advocated that the Chongqing City Arbitration Court should set the pricing for Nokia’s patents for the Chinese market segment. However, the UK court ruled that Oppo must agree to the global patent licensing terms established in the UK or face Oppo sales ban in UK.
Classification of Parties and Implications
Ignoring the pending Chinese court ruling, the UK Supreme Court went ahead to classify Oppo as an unwilling licensee and Nokia as a willing licensor. The significance of this classification became immediately clear as Nokia owns a Standard Essential Patent (SEP) for 4G and 5G standards*. This verdict led to the imposition of a sales ban on Oppo, with an appeal process that could last between 6 to 9 months.
Additional Legal Consequences for Oppo
Interestingly, Oppo has been granted an injunction for patent infringement related to some of its Oppo 4G phones. This additional ban is slated to be activated 28 days after the most recent judgment. Oppo, however, asserts that it has discovered an Oppo workaround for patented technology.
In a financial twist to the case, Nokia’s legal fees are to be paid by Oppo, as ordered by the court.
Global Ramifications: Beyond the UK Borders
Nokia’s recent UK win mirrors its similar successes in Germany, where last year regional courts issued four bans against Oppo. These German rulings led Oppo to leave the German market. Although Oppo’s recent decision to withdraw its products from the French market is reportedly not related to the patent issues, it signals an interesting development in their global strategy.
Previously, Nokia had obtained injunctions against Oppo in other jurisdictions such as the Netherlands and Brazil. Additionally, in India, the Supreme Court has asked Oppo to pay a Nokia guarantee fee demand in India, as a provision for the use of Nokia’s patents post-licensing agreement.
By navigating through complex legal landscapes and emerging victories in multiple jurisdictions, Nokia is consolidating its position as a key player in the FRAND licensing, SEP licensing, and patent game for both Nokia 4G patentsand Nokia 5G patents*.