Mannheim Regional Court has issued the first verdict in the connected cars dispute between Nokia and Daimler. The court yesterday dismissed Nokia's suit against the car manufacturer. Nine other lawsuits are still pending. The next hearing is on 17 March in Mannheim.
12 February 2020 by Christina Schulze
Mannheim Regional Court has dismissed a patent infringement suit (EP 2 286 629) brought by Nokia (case ID: 2 O 35-19). The purpose of the suit was to put pressure on Daimler to become a licensee of patent pool Avanci. Nokia and other SEP owners pool their patents with Avanci through which they grant licences, for example for connected cars. Nokia has filed a total of ten lawsuits against Daimler at the regional courts of Düsseldorf, Mannheim and Munich.
Avanci pool members Sharp and Conversant are also attempting to pressure Daimler by means of infringement suits, having filed five and three respectively. Japanese electronics company Sharp has sued Daimler several times over connected cars patents at the regional courts in Mannheim and Munich. Nevertheless, patent holders had not had high hopes for success prior to yesterday’s outcome.
A verdict in one of the parallel infringement cases is eagerly awaited in Munich following a twelve-hour hearing last week. The court has set the date for 9 April. Meanwhile, Mannheim Regional Court has forged ahead, with the next hearing scheduled for 17 March.
Daimler works with Quinn Emanuel partner Marcus Grosch, having also retained the US firm’s frontman for the Broadcom case. Quinn Emanuel usually handles such lawsuits without the assistance of patent attorneys.
Düsseldorf IP boutique Arnold Ruess is representing Nokia in the main trial against Daimler. Once again, the boutique is cooperating closely with in-house IP head, Clemens-August Heusch.
Arnold Ruess has worked for Nokia for some time, for example in the dispute with Blackberry, settled at the end of 2018. In addition, Nokia retains Bird & Bird for infringement suits in Germany, while Hoyng ROKH Monegier has also been active for the company.
For the lawsuits against Daimler, Nokia has retained three patent attorney firms. Samson & Partner and Cohausz & Florack regularly advise the Finnish company, but David Molnia from Munich patent attorney firm df-mp appeared publicly alongside Nokia for the first time.
A Freshfields’ Düsseldorf team around Frank-Erich Hufnagel is advising Continental.
Interestingly, former colleagues meet in this conflict. Arnold Ruess partner Cordula Schumacher was a part of Hufnagel’s team at Freshfields for many years. She joined Arnold Ruess at the end of 2011; the firm had split off from Freshfields’ Düsseldorf IP team a year earlier.
In addition, Arno Riße also left Hufnagel’s team and moved to Arnold Ruess in 2015.
Despite the losses, Freshfields’ team remained present in important proceedings for Apple and Ericsson. It was quickly able to build up a powerful team in the following years.
Huawei has a long-standing relationship with Preu Bohlig partner Christian Donle in Berlin. He also represents the Chinese mobile phone company in the proceedings against Conversant.
The automotive supplier Bury works regularly with Gramm Lins & Partner, including for patent applications and oppositions.
Arnold Ruess (Düsseldorf): Cordula Schumacher (lead), Arno Riße; associates: Stefania Parise, Tim Smentkowski
Cohausz & Florack (Düsseldorf): Christoph Walke (patent attorney)
In-house (Munich): Clemens-August Heusch (IPR litigation)
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Munich): Marcus Grosch (lead), Johannes Bukow, Jérôme Kommer; associates: Marlen Yan, Jan Axtmann
In-house (Stuttgart): Anja Miedbrodt, Karin Setter
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Düsseldorf): Frank-Erich Hufnagel; principal associate: Eva-Maria Herring, Stephan Dorn; associate: Corin Gittinger
Braun-Dullaeus Pannen Emmerling (Düsseldorf): Ulrich Braun-Dullaeus, Ju Min Kim (patent attorneys)
In-house (Munich): Roman Bonn
Bardehle Pagenberg (Munich): Johannes Heselberger, Sebastian Müller (patent attorney)
Gramm Lins & Partner (Braunschweig): Hans Joachim Gerstein (patent attorney, Hanover), Stefan Risthaus
Hogan Lovells (Munich): Benjamin Schröer
Bardehle Pagenberg (Munich): Peter Chrocziel, Jan Bösing, Christian Haupt (patent attorney)
Regional Court Mannheim, 2nd Civil Chamber
Holger Kircher (presiding judge)