Vodafone embroiled in 4G patent violation
Friday, July 26, 2019
This follows years of attempted negotiations by IPCom, which included the presentation of a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) offer. This FRAND offer outlined royalty…
IPCom, an IP management and patent licensing company, has been granted an expedited trial by the High Court during which the Court will consider whether Vodafone’s activities infringe valid claims of IPCom’s 100T8 patent relating to LTE (4G) network technology. The trial will take place on 19th November 2019.
This follows years of attempted negotiations by IPCom, which included the presentation of a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) offer. This FRAND offer outlined royalty payments due to IPCom for Vodafone’s use of IPCom’s portfolio of SEPs, (standard essential patents) including the 100T8 patent. These payments were calculated based on industry convention.
Vodafone has so far refused to sign an undertaking committing to take a FRAND license from IPCom.
Vodafone’s failure to conclude negotiations and settle out of court has led IPCom to file litigation with the UK court. The 100T8 patent relates to the process of granting mobile phones access to the LTE network.
Amongst other uses, this technology allows emergency service calls to be prioritised appropriately on the network. The patent is due to expire in February 2020, and the Court therefore took the decision to expedite the trial.
In order to make a judgement, the Court will consider both the validity of the claims and whether 100T8 is a standard essential patent. Following the patent case in November, a separate FRAND trial will take place from late June 2020, which is when the Court will rule on the commercial elements of the case.
“We were both surprised and disappointed that, despite our transparent FRAND offer and diplomatic approach, Vodafone turned its back on out-of-court negotiations,” said Pio Suh, Managing Director, IPCom.
“However, we’re also pleased that an expedited trial hearing has been granted, and we remain hopeful that this case can be swiftly resolved.”
IPCom’s aim is to help level the playing field and help businesses whose IP are being exploited by larger companies. IPCom offers IP consulting services to help companies address the intricacies of standardisation and the legal framework surrounding IP protection.
The company also owns over 200 patent families in the field of mobile communications, with more than 1,000 patents registered in Europe, the US and Asia.
A Vodafone spokesperson said “Vodafone Group believes this patent claim is misconceived, and we will defend it vigorously.”