Consumer electronics

Varta reaches settlement with Samsung in battery dispute

Battery manufacturer Varta has ended its patent dispute with Samsung and other various dealers after the parties agreed on a global settlement. The settlement also puts an end to several pending infringement and nullity proceedings in Germany and the US.

12 August 2020 by Konstanze Richter

Vesta Varta and Samsung have reached a settlement following a dispute over a patent for battery cell technology ©NorGal/ADOBE STOCK

EP 2 394 324 B1 protects button cells that offer as much battery power as possible in a small space. For example, the technology is used in wireless headphones. Previously, Varta argued that the batteries used by Korean manufacturer Samsung in its products infringed its patent EP 324. A Chinese manufacturer supplies the batteries. However, both parties have now reached a global settlement.

Reconcile and expand

In December 2019, Varta filed for a preliminary injunction against Amazon and Expert at the Regional Court of Braunschweig, to prohibit the two dealers from selling Samsung products. At the same time, Varta sought an injunction at the Regional Court Munich (case ID: 7 O 544/20) against Samsung and German electronics retailers Mediamarkt and Saturn. Furthermore, Varta filed an infringement suit against Samsung and all four dealers at the Regional Court Mannheim (case ID: 2 O 22/20).

However, Varta withdrew its application for an injunction against Samsung in Munich. Varta also extended its application for an injunction in Braunschweig to include the Korean manufacturer. Previously, Varta directed the suit only against Amazon and Expert.

At the end of February, following an initial hearing in Braunschweig, Varta also withdrew its suits for a preliminary injunction in Braunschweig. Following the global settlement, the infringement proceedings in Mannheim were resolved. Furthermore, the parties have also resolved another lawsuit in the US, at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (case ID: 2:2020cv00029).

Bernhard Arnold, Varta

Bernhard Arnold

Now, Varta wants to expand its business relations with Samsung. The company also wants to establish agreements with other manufacturers, for example companies that manufacture smartwatches or fitness trackers.

On recommendation

Düsseldorf-based IP boutique Arnold Ruess advised Varta for the first time. Name partner Bernhard Arnold joined the case via a recommendation from the market. The team is currently active in a number of high-profile cases in mobile communications, for example on the side of Nokia against Daimler and for Sisvel against Haier.

Allen & Overy partner Jan Ebersohl knows Samsung from his previous post at Quinn Emanuel. As an associate, he was part of the team around Marcus Grosch that advised the Korean manufacturer in the 2012 tablet dispute against Apple.

Jan Ebersohl, Varta

Jan Ebersohl

At Allen & Overy, Ebersohl is also regularly involved in patent disputes in the technology sector. He worked for Archos in the Europe-wide dispute against Philips.

For Varta
Arnold Ruess (Düsseldorf): Bernhard Arnold (partner); associates: Lisa Schneider, Tobias Weigand
Cartagena (Stuttgart): Michael Eberle, Lukas Klement (patent attorneys)
Leydig (Chicago): Michael Hartmann
In-house (Ellwangen): Julia Weber (Head of Corporate Legal & Compliance)

For Samsung, Amazon, Expert, Saturn
Allen & Overy (Munich): Jan Ebersohl (partner); associate: Denise Benz
Zimmermann & Partner: Joel Nägerl, Lorenz Walder-Hartmann (patent attorneys)
Samsung in-house (Seoul): Daniel Shim (Principal Legal Counsel IP), Soonouk Lee (attorney-at-law)

Regional Court Munich (case ID: 7 O 544/20):
Matthias Zigann (presiding judge)

Regional Court Mannheim (case ID: 2 O 22/20):
Holger Kircher (presiding judge)

Regional Court Braunschweig (case ID: 9 O 4/20):
Jochen Meyer (presiding judge)