Mobile communication

Nokia concludes licence with Samsung as battle with Oppo rages on

Nokia and Samsung have reached a new cross-licensing agreement for mobile communication patents, with the parties avoiding the court litigation stage. Now Nokia has more leeway for its intense global dispute with Oppo concerning a new FRAND licence.

24 January 2023 by Mathieu Klos

Samsung, Nokia Nokia and Samsung have reached a patent licensing agreement without resorting to court litigation. Meanwhile, the District Court in The Hague has rejected Nokia's request for two PIs in its parallel battle with Oppo. ©OlekAdobe/ADOBE STOCK/JUVE

Nokia and Samsung have concluded discussions over a new licence, the Finnish company announced in a press release yesterday. According to the announcement, the two companies will extend their cross-licensing agreement, which expired at the end of 2022 after four years.

Nokia and Samsung reach agreement

Under the agreement, which covers Nokia’s 5G inventions as well as other technologies, Samsung will make payments to Nokia. Both companies are keeping the terms confidential.

Jenni Lukander

Nokia announced that it entered into force on 1 January 2023 for a multi-year period. Usually, mobile communication companies agree on a five-year term. However, the two companies seem to prefer shorter terms, as the old agreement began in January 2019 and only ended at the end of 2022.

Outside of the courts

The two companies extended the agreement with no litigation in civil courts. Nokia and Samsung had also reached the previous agreement without a global patent dispute, although this was preceded by arbitration.

Jenni Lukander, president of Nokia Technologies, says, “Samsung is a leader in the smartphone industry, and we are delighted to have reached an amicable agreement with them.

The agreement gives both companies the freedom to innovate, and reflects the strength of Nokia’s patent portfolio, decades-long investments in R&D and contributions to cellular standards and other technologies.”

Nokia in intensive litigation

Samsung also reached a licensing agreement with Huawei as recently as December 2022. Again, the companies’ lawyers had not disclosed any litigation in advance. By contrast, the South Korean company reached a new licensing agreement with Ericsson in May 2021, after a brief but intense dispute.

On the other hand, the Finnish company is currently part of an intense dispute with Oppo over the extension of a licence agreement. For over a year, the two companies have faced each other in patent courts around the world. By comparison, Ericsson and Apple reached a new agreement after only one year of litigation.

Daan de Lange, Brinkhof

Daan de Lange

Dutch decision for Oppo

The settlement with Samsung should give Nokia additional capacity for its dispute with Oppo. Both companies have recently achieved success in various courts.

Last week, the District Court of The Hague published an urgent decision. The court, under presiding judge Edger Brinkman, rejected Nokia’s request for a preliminary injunction (case ID: C/09/638658).

It had requested a PI against the sale of Oppo products in the Netherlands based on the latter party’s infringement of EP 29 81 103 and EP 32 20 562. Both are SEPs. However, sales of Oppo and its subsidiaries in the Netherlands are very low. Alternatively, Nokia had also requested a preliminary injunction until Oppo agreed to Nokia’s offer of arbitration.

Oppo had argued that it lacked an urgent interest for a PI. It also stipulated that the case was unsuitable for a PI decision, given the complexity of its FRAND debate.

Wouter Pors of Bird & Bird led proceedings for Nokia. Dutch IP firm Brinkhof, led by partners Daan de Lange and Rien Broekstra, represented the defending Oppo companies.

Wouter Pors

Win for Nokia in UK

Things went better for Nokia last week in London, where the High Court of Justice found that Oppo infringes valid and essential EP 103 B1. As a result, the court has leave to determine a FRAND licence rate, which Oppo must accept or else face being injuncted in the UK. However, Oppo is pinning its hopes on a global licence in China.

The FRAND trial is expected to take place on 24 April 2023 in London, while the court has scheduled the following two technical SEP trials for early April and mid-summer, respectively.

In London, Bird & Bird is conducting the proceedings for Nokia led by partner Richard Vary. Oppo/OnePlus relies on a team from Hogan Lovells, under partners Paul Brown and Katie McConnell.