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Nokia-Daimler Patent Fees Fight: Finnish Firm Wins Second Case Against Daimler

Nokia-Daimler Patent Fees Fight: Finnish Firm Wins Second Case Against Daimler
The Finnish tech company Nokia won an important verdict against the German car maker Daimler over patent licensing fees as a German court on Tuesday said that the car maker had not made serious efforts to get the issue resolved with Nokia.
This legal battle between the two companies – a tech company and a car maker, reflects how the two industries are in a tussle over royalties for technologies that are used in the navigation systems of vehicles as well as technologies used for vehicle communications and self-driving cars.
This case and the related issue of royalty is critical for Nokia which generates revenue of about 1.4 billion euros (S$2.28 billion) from licensing of its technology and patents every year.
Neither Daimler nor any of the other parties who are part of the case were "seriously prepared or ready to conclude a license agreement" with Nokia in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) manner, said the Mannheim court in Germany.
However in the first patent case in February, the same court had ruled against Nokia. There are eight more lawsuits pending in the German courts, with the third case scheduled for September 5.
A sales ban against Daimler can now be enforced by Nokia after Tuesday's judgment. However such a ban would require the Finnish company posting a 7-billion-euro bond as a guarantee that would be against any form of damages in the event that the ban is overturned on appeal. This, according to analysts, made that move more unlikely.
While saying that it failed to understand how the court could come to the conclusion as it did, Daimler said that it would be appealing against the judgment.
In its process of licensing its cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs), Nokia had acted in a fair way , the Finnish company said about what the court order meant and confirmed. It added that Daimler had no authorization to use technology that belonged to Nokia. 
"We hope that Daimler will now accept its obligations and take a licence on fair terms," Jenni Lukander, president of Nokia Technologies, said in a statement.
The judgment was criticized by Continental, which intervened in the case.
"It is precisely such a licence agreement that Continental has long been demanding from Nokia and which it is currently requesting in court in the USA from Nokia," the company said in a statement.
A suggestion from the German cartel office about the court transferring the case to Europe's highest court in Luxembourg was rejected by the court as it said that such a transfer was not perceived to be appropriate and needed.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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