A Munich court has dismissed Huawei's opposition against an anti-anti-suit injunction. IP Bridge can now launch three SEP lawsuits against Huawei. IP Bridge successfully applied for the AASI without another court having previously issued an anti-suit injunction against the SEP owner.
30 June 2021 by Mathieu Klos
The Munich Regional Court last week gave IP Bridge the green light to proceed against Huawei with three lawsuits based on standard essential mobile phone patents. The judges rejected Huawei’s opposition to an AASI (case ID: 7 O 36/21). Under German law, parties can oppose an AASI judgment at the same chamber before appealing it at a higher court.
The Munich Regional Court considers it likely that Huawei will file an anti-suit injunction with a Chinese court in order to prevent IP Bridge from making SEP claims in Germany. However, the Chinese mobile giant has not yet applied for such an ASI in China or elsewhere.
In April, the court granted IP Bridge’s AASI application. According to the judges, threats by Huawei management to IP Bridge indicated Huawei would apply for an ASI in China. Huawei had already obtained an ASI from a Chinese court in 2020 in the SEP dispute with NPE Conversant. Therefore, the judges ruled that it is possible the company would repeat this course of action.
Huawei apparently failed to convince the judges at the oral hearing that there was no risk of an ASI against IP Bridge. The reasons for the decision are not yet available. Observers consider it likely that Huawei will now appeal to the Higher Regional Court Munich.
Under German law, the legal basis for an AASI without an ASI is the so-called ‘danger of imminent action’ (in German: Begehungsgefahr). The Munich judges have thus confirmed IP Bridge’s right to enforce its IP rights in Germany, regardless of whether another court prohibits the NPE from doing so.
The AASI dispute stems back to three patent infringement suits filed by IP Bridge in Munich based on standard-essential mobile phone patents (EP 17 88 782 B1, EP 22 94 737 B1, EP 21 24 463 B1). IP Bridge and Huawei are currently exchanging pleadings in these cases. Oral proceedings will not start until autumn. IP Bridge has filed an application for a global FRAND licence at the UK High Court in London.
Currently, the Munich Regional Court is heavily involved in anti-suit cases. It has upheld numerous AASI applications in the past, after Chinese courts granted ASIs against patent suits in Germany. One well-known case is the AASI for InterDigital against Xiaomi’s Chinese ASI. The increase in AASI requests is one of the reasons why the Munich Regional Court is establishing a third patent chamber in August.
However, an AASI without an ASI is rare. According to JUVE Patent information, the 21st Civil Chamber under presiding judge Tobias Pichlmaier has already issued an AASI in another SEP dispute. Thus, the AASI against Huawei is only the second of this kind.
The judges at Munich Regional Court are considered to be particularly creative in dealing with ASIs from China. But the Regional Court Düsseldorf also handles such cases.
Today, Civil Chamber 4b of presiding judge Sabine Klepsch heard an application by Access Advanced for an AASI without an ASI. In this case, the opponent is Xiaomi.
Huawei again relied on Tobias Hessel of Hoyng ROKH Monegier in its dispute with IP Bridge. The client relationship is still relatively young. Hoyng ROKH Monegier first appeared alongside the Chinese company in connected cars proceedings.
Huawei has a long-standing relationship with Preu Bohlig & Partner. Patent attorney Friedrich Emmerling of Braun-Dullaeus Pannen Emmerling is always present for Huawei in SEP proceedings.
EIP is making a fresh appearance for IP Bridge. The German team from the UK firm has a good track record for representing SEP actions. For example, it recently represented Conversant and Broadcom in connected cars claims against Daimler. The team is also representing sound system manufacturer Sonos in lawsuits brought by Google. Its collaboration with df-mp’s patent attorneys is also well-established through various lawsuits for Conversant.
IP Bridge also works with Düsseldorf-based litigation firm Wildanger Kehrwald Graf v. Schwerin & Partner in the connected cars lawsuits against Daimler. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has also handled lawsuits for the SEP owner in the past.
For IP Bridge
EIP (Düsseldorf): Christof Höhne, Florian Schmidt-Bogatzky; associates: Dimitri Kosenko, Schi-Hwa Chae
df-mp Dörries Frank-Molnia & Pohlman (Munich): David Molnia, Dominik Ho (both patent attorneys)
Regional Court Munich, 7th Civil Chamber
Matthias Zigann (presiding judge)