Continental Files New Suit Seeking Fair Licensing Rates from Nokia
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- Continental filed a complaint in the Delaware Court of Chancery seeking to hold Nokia to its promise to license telecommunications patents based on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms
- Continental was refused a FRAND license and confirms that it is a willing licensee that will pay a FRAND rate as set by the court for any applicable patents
- Continental continues to pursue its antitrust and other claims against Avanci and its members, including Nokia, on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- Continental also upholds its complaint with the European Commission against Nokia’s abusive refusal of a FRAND license and awaits an important ruling by the European Court of Justice on Nokia’s FRAND licensing obligations under EU antitrust law
AUBURN HILLS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Continental today announced that it has filed a complaint against Nokia in the Delaware Court of Chancery, the most well-known business court in the U.S. The mobility company is seeking to hold Nokia to its promise to license essential telecommunications patents based on FRAND terms. Both Continental and Nokia’s U.S. arm are incorporated in Delaware, and Nokia has previously litigated FRAND disputes in the Court of Chancery.
The filing relates to the 2G, 3G and 4G telecommunications standards, which are increasingly incorporated into automotive applications. The complaint includes claims for breach of contract and declaratory relief. Continental is a willing licensee that is prepared to pay a fair and reasonable rate set by the court for any applicable patents. With this filing, Continental is requesting the court review Nokia’s licensing approach and royalty demands and hold it to its FRAND promises.
Continental is a leading supplier of cutting-edge automotive technology, including telematics and safety devices and vehicle data network gateway products that manage and integrate communications for multiple devices. These technologies incorporate telecommunications functionality and are sold to vehicle manufacturers around the world. Nokia is a network equipment company and claims to own a large portfolio of patents essential to the telecommunications standards. To convince standard-setting organizations to incorporate its patented technologies into the telecommunications standards, Nokia promised to license its essential technology patents to companies, such as Continental, on FRAND terms. However, Continental has been unable to obtain a FRAND license from Nokia despite pursuing negotiations with Nokia for several years.
Continental previously filed a complaint against Nokia, Avanci, and others in U.S. district court, alleging antitrust and other claims. Avanci is a “licensing platform” populated by a group of companies, including Nokia, for the purpose of licensing their allegedly essential patents in the automotive industry. The judge dismissed that case because it disagreed with Continental’s antitrust claims, while otherwise allowing Continental to pursue its claims for breach of the FRAND contract elsewhere. Continental continues to pursue its appeal of that dismissal, which is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, while seeking relief on its FRAND claims against Nokia in Delaware.
“Our goal through this action is that Continental can obtain a reasonable and practical result for our supply chain and our customers, without further delay,” said George Jurch, Continental’s General Counsel for the Americas. “We have always been willing to pay for a license on FRAND terms.”
In Europe, Continental upholds its formal complaint with the European Commission against Nokia’s abusive refusal to offer Continental a FRAND license.
It is Continental’s belief that only with direct licenses being available on FRAND terms to all companies who use the cellular standards can there be fair competition and the business and legal certainty needed to sustainably push digital transformation and innovation.
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent, and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2019, Continental generated sales of €44.5 billion and currently employs more than 233,000 people in 59 countries and markets. In 2021, the company celebrates its 150th anniversary.
Vice President, Communications & Marketing
Continental, North America
Phone: +1 248-462-9114
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