Atos welcomes new head of IP strategy

Yann Dietrich has left patent holding France Brevets to join the in-house team at Atos as head of IP strategy and development. Atos is a listed French IT service provider, although the company's patent business has been low profile in recent years.

10 May 2019 by Christina Schulze

France Brevets, Yann Dietrich, Atos Yann Dietrich has joined Atos from France Brevets. Part of the NPE's remit is near-field communication (NFC), used for mobile payment. ©ldprod/ADOBE STOCK

Atos hit the headlines in Germany for its work on the ultimately unsuccessful electronic lawyer’s mailbox project.

France Brevets is an investment fund and non-practicising entity founded by the French government in 2011. The NPE markets and exploits the patent licences of French companies. In recent years, Dietrich was known in the market for coordinating the fund’s patent pool processes.

France Brevets vs. Apple

Lately, France Brevets has seen several staff moves. A year ago, patent director Malcolm Meeks joined strategic consultancy firm Courcelles Consultants as a consultant. France Brevets also created the position of general counsel for Anne-Sophie Sebire.

However, after filing a series of lawsuits, France Brevets has kept a somewhat low profile. Recently the Düsseldorf Regional Court dismissed the NPE’s request for a preliminary injunction against Apple (case ID: 4b O 106/18).

France Brevets vs. HTC

The highlight among recent suits is a decision from the Regional Court Düsseldorf in April 2015 (case ID: 4b O 140/13). In a dispute with HTC, the court found that standard essential patents (SEPs) do not automatically confer market dominance to the holder.

The court granted France Brevets injunctive relief based on an SEP, despite France Brevets offering HTC a licence on FRAND terms.

As part of the German lawsuits, which concerned near-field communication (NFC), France Brevets compelled several mobile phone companies to take licences. LG Electronics, Sony and Samsung all signed agreements, followed by HTC in November 2016.

NFC technology is used for making payments via mobile phone, for example in supermarkets. The contested patents originate from French software company Inside Secure, which specialises in mobile communications security systems, and the mobile communications company Orange.

In the German proceedings, France Brevets regularly cooperates with Axel Verhauwen of Krieger Mes Graf von der Groeben in Düsseldorf and patent attorney Gottfried Schüll of Cohausz & Florack.