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关于德国联邦法院近期对Sisvel vs. 海尔案判决的最新评论

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芭儿7个月前
关于德国联邦法院近期对Sisvel vs. 海尔案判决的最新评论

关于德国联邦法院近期对Sisvel vs. 海尔案判决的最新评论

#本文仅代表作者观点,不代表IPRdaily立场,未经作者许可,禁止转载#


来源:IPRdaily中文网(iprdaily.cn)

作者:Stephan Dorn, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Germany

Corin Gittinger, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Germany

Yujing Wang(王玉婧), PECC-China

Jinping Gong(龚津平), CocreateIP Germany

原标题:关于德国联邦法院近期对Sisvel vs. 海尔案判决的最新评论


关于德国联邦法院近期对Sisvel vs. 海尔案判决的最新评论

 

德国联邦法院(FCJ)近期刚刚发布了期待已久的对于Sisvel vs. Haier一案的判决。这是欧洲法院对华为 vs. 中兴一案做出裁决后欧洲的首个最高法院判决。华为 vs. 中兴一案的判决中,欧洲法院针对标准必要专利(SEP)侵权行为所致禁令的执行建立了一个严格的多步骤行为机制(又被称为the Huawei Dance)。


The German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) has now published its long-awaited decision in the Sisvel vs. Haier case. This is the first supreme court decision after the ECJ's ruling in the Huawei vs. ZTE case, which established a strict multi-step behavioural regime (the Huawei Dance) for the enforcement of the injunction based on the infringement of an SEP.


关于本案 / Facts about the case


诉讼涉及的专利是欧洲专利852 885的德国生效专利,该欧洲专利于2005年获得授权,随后在德国生效。这个欧洲专利是PCT申请PCT/FI1996/000506而后进入欧洲地区阶段,并主张一项于1995年9月25日提交的芬兰申请的优先权。这个PCT申请于1996年9月25日提交,经过WIPO的PATENTSCOPE著录库查询得知,此项PCT申请后来进入了中国、欧洲专利局、新西兰、加拿大、日本、挪威和美国。


The patent in suit is a German part of a European Patent 852 885 which was granted in 2005 and subsequently validated in Germany. This EP patent resulted from a regional entry of a PCT application PCT/FI1996/000506 claiming priority from a Finnish application filed on September 25, 1995. This PCT application was filed on September 25, 1996. From the PATENTSCOPE registry, this PCT application later had entered China, European Patent Office, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Norway and the USA.


PCT申请PCT/FI1996/000506(包括在芬兰的优先权申请)的原始申请人是诺基亚电信公司(芬兰),中间在欧洲专利的审查过程中登记了申请人的变更(起因是诺基亚内部数个子公司的合并)。随后,SISVEL公司于2012年8月8日获得了其对涉案欧洲专利(EP)852 885号的德国生效专利的所有权,并在此之后,直到该专利于2016年9月25号失效之前一直作为此专利的专利权人。


The original applicant of the PCT application PCT/FI1996/000506 including the Finnish priority application is Nokia Telecommunications OY (Finland). SISVEL International S.A. registered its ownership of the German part of the granted EP patent 852 885 on August 8, 2012 and acted as the proprietor until the patent term was expired on September 25, 2016.


经过在欧洲专利局7年的审查,EP 852 885号专利于2005年11月16号被公告授权。在该欧洲专利申请审查期间,没有任何第三方意见被提出。关于该专利的9个月异议期于2006年8月16日结束,也就在这一天,高通公司对此项被授予的EP专利提出了异议。但高通公司于2008年10月7日致函欧洲专利局撤回了他们的异议意见。2008年11月21日,欧洲专利局发出了一项终止异议程序的决定。


The mentioned of the grant for European Patent 852 885 was published in the European Patent Bulletin 16.11.2005, after 7 years of prosecution in the EPO. No third-party observation was filed in the EPO during the prosecution history. The 9-month opposition period for this patent ends at 16.08.2006 on which a notice of Opposition was filed to against this granted EP patent. The opponent was QUALCOMM INCORPORATED. QUALCOMM withdrawn their opposition by a letter of 07.10.2008. A decision to discontinue the opposition proceedings on Nov. 21, 2008 was released by the EPO.


此前,在专利有效期即将到期之前,曾有一起针对EP852 885德国生效专利的无效诉讼。德国联邦法院(FCJ)于2020年3月10日确认了EP852 885号专利的有效性。随后FCJ还确认了Sisvel持有的另一项专利EP 1 264 504有效。


Previously, a nullity action was taken to the German part of EP852 885 just before the patent term was going to expire. The German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) confirmed the validity of EP852885 on March 10, 2020 and subsequently BGH has also confirmed another patent EP 1 264 504 from Sisvel to be valid.


关于此案判决和其主要考虑因素 / About the decision and the main considerations


正如预料当中的那样,FCJ提出的理由给专利实施者带来了更大的负担。它强调了实施者有义务参与并推进许可谈判,并表明其真实有意愿接受FRAND许可——“无论什么条件下的FRAND”。在这方面,FCJ明确提及了英国判例法(英国高等法院,Birss法官,[2017]EWHC 711(pat),Unwired Planet vs. Huawei,mn. 708)中使用过的“无论什么条件下的FRAND”(“on whatever terms are FRAND”)的语言。


As expected the reasoning of the FCJ places a higher burden on the implementer and emphasises the implementer’s duty to advance the license negotiations and show its true willingness to take a FRAND-license, “on whatever terms are in fact FRAND”. In this regard the FCJ explicitly refers to the UK case law (UK High Court of Justice, Judge Birss, [2017] EWHC 711 (pat), Unwired Planet vs. Huawei, mn. 708) which coined the “on whatever terms are FRAND” language.


然而,FCJ在判决中使用欧盟法院对于华为 vs. 中兴一案的案例法,并不像人们可能担心的那样(基于口头听证会和听证会后对于德国专利诉讼趋势的传言),对专利实施者那么的不利。相反,针对专利权人和实施者在评估许可条件是否FRAND时双方之间存在的信息不对称这一问题,FCJ还提出了一些关于专利权人的基本义务的积极陈述。


However, the FCJ’s adoption of the Huawei vs. ZTE case law by the CJEU is not as negative for implementers as one might have feared based on the oral hearing and the rumours purported in the German patent litigation scene right after the hearing. Rather, the FCJ’s reasoning also contains some positive statements on the basic obligations the patent proprietor has in view of the asymmetry of information between the patent proprietor and the implementer when assessing the FRANDness of the offer.


I.    FCJ’s basic considerations /德国联邦法院的基本考虑


FCJ对FRAND抗辩的解释,更趋近于所谓橙皮书一案所建立的针对反垄断法下对于强制许可的异议的标准框架的“严格版本”(橙皮书标准判决是FCJ在欧盟法院的华为 vs. 中兴案之前作出过的一项具有标志性意义的裁决):


The FCJ interprets the FRAND defence closer to the stricter so-called Orange-Book-Standard framework for antitrust law driven compulsory license objections (the Orange-Book-Standard decision is the FCJ’s landmark decision prior to the Huawei vs. ZTE case law by the CJEU):


首先,FCJ重申,正如欧盟法院在华为 vs. 中兴案中所述,以涉嫌侵犯标准必要专利为由提出禁令救济、召回和销毁的要求,本身并不违反反垄断法。这是因为,具有市场主导地位的标准必要专利所有者不会要求实施者签订许可协议,也无法强制实施者获得许可。相反,实施者应当提出要约以获取FRAND许可。因此,根据先前BGH的判决(mn. 70),对于那些使用专利并不愿意获取许可的侵权者,专利权人有权依据专利侵权行为提出包括禁令救济的主张。


As a starting point, the FCJ reiterates, that it is not per se a violation of antitrust law to claim injunctive relief, recall and destruction based on alleged infringement of an SEP just like the CJEU had stated in Huawei vs. ZTE. That is because, the market-dominant SEP owner would not have a claim against an implementer to conclude a license agreement and would not be able to force an implementer to take a license. The implementer, however, would have such a claim to obtain a FRAND-license. Therefore, the patentee would be left with asserting his claims based on patent infringement (i.e. also the claim for injunctive relief) against those parties who use the patent but are not willing to conclude a license according to the BGH (mn. 70).


FCJ接着指出,关于禁令救济、召回和销毁的主张只会在第102 号欧盟运作条约下被认定为被滥用:


The FCJ then goes on to state that the assertion of claims for injunctive relief, recall and destruction would only be abusive under Art. 102 TFEU:


(1) … 如果寻求许可者提出了无条件的许可要约,那么专利权人不得拒绝以不违反禁止滥用或歧视的条例(在橙皮书标准判决中no. 71)。

(2) … 如果专利权人在专利使用者被证明愿意在合理的条件下达成许可协议后没有为达成许可做出必要的举措(nm. 72)。


(1)        … if the license seeker provides an unconditional offer, that the patentee must not decline without infringing the prohibition of abuse or discrimination (no. 71 which is the old Orange-Book standard) or,

(2)        … if the patentee has not taken the necessary steps to conclude a license agreement with a standard user that has proven to be willing to conclude such a license agreement at reasonable terms (nm. 72).


II.  Implementer’s willingness to license / 专利实施者接受许可的意愿


FCJ在这一方面表示,在华为 vs. 中兴一案的框架内,许可寻求者需要清晰、明确地表明其愿意以FRAND作为基础与标准必要专利所有人达成许可协议。因为“一个愿意接受许可的被许可人必须是在任何条款下均愿意获取FRAND许可的,只要该条款事实上是FRAND的。(“a willing licensee must be one willing to take a FRAND license on whatever terms are in fact FRAND.”)


From that second category the FCJ follows that within the Huawei vs. ZTE framework, the license seeker would need to clearly and unambiguously show its willingness to conclude a license with the SEP-holder at FRAND-terms. Because “a willing licensee must be one willing to take a FRAND licence on whatever terms are in fact FRAND.”


FCJ的这些考虑使其与杜塞尔多夫法院对华为 vs. 中兴案例法的采用产生了实质性的偏差。杜塞尔多夫法院认为,依据欧盟法院华为 vs. 中兴一案的案例法,双方达成许可的必要步骤是连续性的并由相互替换的职责构成。只有在另一方完全履行了其先前义务的情况下,才会产生下一步的交替性的职责。曼海姆法院和最近慕尼黑法院(在其指导方针中)对FRAND抗辩也偏离了欧盟法院在华为诉中兴一案的判决中所要求严格遵循的一系列步骤。


The FCJ’s basic considerations lead to a substantial deviation from the Dusseldorf court’s adoption of the Huawei vs. ZTE case law. The Dusseldorf courts considered the necessary steps under Huawei vs. ZTE CJEU case law as consecutive and mutual sequence of duties which only arise if the respective preceding obligation is completely fulfilled by the other party. The Mannheim and recently the Munich court (in its guidelines) already appeared shifting away from assessing the FRAND defence in view of adherence to the strict sequence of the steps required under CJEU’s Huawei vs. ZTE decision.


对于寻求许可者来说,这里关键的一点是,对SEP所有者问询的任何回应都应该是清晰明确的。它不应该被置于任何条件下,且无论许可人对于给定专利组合提出的FRAND条款是什么,被许可人都应该清晰地表达出自己寻求FRAND许可的意愿。


The key takeaway for any license seeker here is that any response to inquiries from SEP-owners should be clear and unambiguous. It should not be placed under any conditions and it must convey the clear message that the license seeker would be willing to take a FRAND-licences, whatever the FRAND-terms for the respective portfolio in the given case would be.


III.  SEP-owners obligation to provide information on its licensing practice /  SEP所有者有义务提供其许可实践的有关信息


FCJ强调,SEP所有者“可能需要为其提出的许可要求提供详细的理由,以使寻求许可者能够证实其许可要求不构成支配地位的滥用”,例如,其所提供的条款和条件是否实际上符合FRAND原则。否则,愿意获得许可的公司将被迫承担被命令停止和终止所有侵权行为的风险,或被迫接受可能滥用专利所有人权利的过高的许可费或其他潜在的不公平的合同条件,以规避禁令的风险”(mn. 76)。


The FCJ emphasizes that the SEP-owner “may be required to provide a detailed justification for its license claims in order to enable the person willing to take a license to verify whether the license claim constitutes an abuse of a dominant position”, i.e. whether the terms and conditions offered are in fact FRAND. For otherwise, ‘the company willing to take a license would be forced to either take the risk of being ordered to cease and desist in the patent proprietor's infringement action, or to accept a potentially abusively excessive claim to license fees or other potentially abusive contractual conditions, in order to safely exclude the risk of an injunction’ (mn. 76).


SEP所有者此项义务的范围以及专利所有人应履行其提供信息的义务的具体内容尚未被FCJ进一步讨论。此次FCJ只是谈及了案件的具体情况和(不同寻常的是)侵权人的反应。


The scope of the obligation and what is exactly needed to fulfil the patent proprietor’s duty to fulfil its information obligation has not been addressed further by the FCJ. The FCJ here merely refers to the specific circumstances of the case and (what is somehow new) the response of the infringer (mn. 79).


IV.   FRAND-terms and the non-discrimination prong of FRAND / FRAND条款和FRAND非歧视性的探讨


FCJ的所持立场是市场并不需要一套统一的FRAND条款。尤其是SEP所有者并不需要向所有标准用户授予相同的许可条件。相反,SEP所有者只被要求授予不扭曲贸易伙伴之间竞争的条款和条件。因为反垄断法规定的非歧视义务旨在使谈判结果不受SEP所有者的市场支配地位的影响,并以平衡的方式考虑到缔约双方的利益(mn. 80)。


The FCJ takes the position that there would not only be one set of FRAND-terms. In particular the SEP-owner would not be required to grant equal conditions to all standard users. Rather the SEP-owner must only grant such terms and conditions that do not distort competition between trading partners. Because the non-discrimination obligation under antitrust laws would aim at enabling negotiation results which are not influenced by the market dominance of the SEP-owner and which take into account both contracting parties' interests in a balanced manner (mn. 80).


FCJ甚至还指出,SEP所有者可以授予不同的条款和条件。如果SEP所有者需要这样做来维护自己的商业利益,这种行为是正当的。例如,如果SEP所有者必须接受较低的费率,以便能够从某些标准使用者那里获得任何形式的补偿,因为这些使用者受到国家机构的保护,甚至可能对SEP所有者发起某种威胁,则SEP所有者(在给予该使用者较低的费率之后)仍可自由地向其他标准用户以标准的费率实施许可(mn. 102)。


The FCJ even goes so far to state that the SEP-owner could grant different terms and conditions and that such a behaviour would be justified, if the SEP-owner needed to do that to safeguard its own commercial interests. For example, if an SEP-owner would have to accept lower rates in order to be able to get any sort of compensation from certain standard users as they are protected by national agencies who might even issue some sort of threat against the SEP-owner, the SEP-owner would still be free to request its regular rates from other standard users (mn. 102).


当然,这有可能会导致市场参与者之间的竞争被扭曲,但FCJ显然接受了这一点,甚至没讨论其后果。FCJ重申,“一个合理的价格,通常不能客观地确定,但只能通过(可能类似的)谈判这一市场过程的结果来确定”。根据这一声明,德国法院可以进一步将其对(SEP所有者给被许可人的)报价是否实际符合FRAND的评估方面的工作减到最低,并继续关注SEP所有者与第三方签订的其他许可协议。


That of course will likely lead to a distortion of competition between market players but the FCJ apparently accepts that without even addressing that consequence. The FCJ reiterates that “a reasonable price, regularly [is] not objectively established, but can be determined only as the result of (possibly similar) negotiated market processes”. Based on this statement, German courts could further limit their assessment of whether offered rates are in fact FRAND to a minimum and remain focussing on other licenses concluded by the SEP-owner with third parties.


V.   FRAND license obligations towards suppliers / 对供应商的FRAND许可义务


在此案中,FCJ其实不必探讨这一问题:拒绝向组件制造商授予许可将会对向该组件制造商的客户所发起的禁令要求产生什么影响。然而,判决书中有几个陈述支持向产业链中各方皆提供许可。尤其在mn. 70、74和80中, FCJ指出:“此外,标准兼容产品的制造商可能希望自己无论如何都可以使用SEP专利作为参照,即使仅仅通过基于合理条款的许可协议(ECJ,WRP 2015,1080 margin no.53,64-Huawei/ZTE)。”总体来说,这是此次判决中比较积极的一面。必须指出的是,FCJ多次提到了获得许可的权利。


In the given case, FCJ also did not have to address the question what effect a refusal to grant licenses to component manufacturers would have on injunction claims being asserted against the customers of such component manufacturers. However, there are several statements in the judgement which support the license to all position. These are in particular mn. 70, 74 and 80. Here the FCJ states: “Moreover, the manufacturer of a standard-compatible product may expect that he may use the teaching of an SEP anyway - even if only on the basis of a license agreement on reasonable terms (ECJ, WRP 2015, 1080 margin no. 53, 64 - Huawei/ZTE).” Generally speaking, that is the more positive side of the judgement and it has to be noted that the FCJ refers to the right to a license several times.


这项裁决对初审法院判例法的全面影响仍有待观察。然而,现在很明显的是,在Sisvel vs. Haier一案德国联邦法院所做出的判决之下,SEP实施者必须谨慎地审视他们的谈判行为以避免他们在德国专利侵权诉讼中的FRAND抗辩过程中出现意外“惊喜”。


The full implications of the ruling on the case law of the courts of first instance remains to be seen. However, what becomes immediately clear is that SEP implementers have to carefully consider their negotiation behaviour under the FCJ’s reasoning in Sisvel vs. Haier in order to avoid unexpected surprises regarding their FRAND defence in German patent infringement proceedings.


观察 / Observations


FRAND原则是标准必要专利诉讼过程中不可忽视的原则,各个国家和地区的法院均通过其法律角度对FRAND原则进行了进一步的理解和适用,对当事人双方在专利许可谈判过程中的行为作出了更多的要求。法院在审判过程中,也分析了双方是否具有善意谈判的表现,以及是否履行了诚信谈判的义务。


在西电捷通VS索尼的案件中,北京高级人民法院就曾做出双方当事人迟迟未能进入正式的专利许可谈判程序,过错在于专利实施方的判决,并提出由于权利人在标准必要专利上作出公平、合理、无歧视许可声明,因此,标准必要专利侵权民事责任的承担应当考虑双方谈判的过程和实质条件,判断由哪一方为谈判破裂承担责任。


美国法院也曾在判决中指明标准必要专利的专利权人在签订每个合同时都必须负有诚信的善意和公平交易的潜在义务,即,专利权人必须以诚信的态度发出FRAND要约,专利许可合同的达成也要求双方保持善意的谈判态度。


结合上文德国联邦最高法院的判例,对FRAND原则中专利权人和专利实施者的行为和义务进行了更为细致的规定。基于上述分析,专利权人应向专利实施者提供符合FRAND原则的明确的具体要约;而专利实施者在接到专利权人书面要约之后,应及时履行回应要约的义务,以避免被认为没有做到及时的诚信回应,没有为获得专利许可尽力。在协商谈判暂时无法达成一致时,专利实施者也可通过提供善意的、合理的担保来表达自己的诚意。同时,对于FRAND原则下,具体的专利许可条件,专利权人和专利实施者应重视针对不同国家和地区的法律规则和制度进行研判,动态监控领域内的实时动向,做出更细致的评估,设计出更优势的策略和方案。

 

来源:IPRdaily中文网(iprdaily.cn)

作者:Stephan Dorn, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Germany

Corin Gittinger, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Germany

Yujing Wang(王玉婧), PECC-China

Jinping Gong(龚津平), CocreateIP Germany

编辑:IPRdaily王颖          校对:IPRdaily纵横君


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