Unwired Planet v Huawei

Fresh off the press is today's decision from Mr Justice Birss in Unwired Planet v Huawei [2017] EWHC 711.

There are some interesting FRAND findings. I am curious about the reasoning about why the insistence on a worldwide listener is FRAND.

(6) FRAND characterises the terms of a licence but also refers to the process by which a licence is negotiated. Although an implementer does not owe a FRAND obligation to ETSI, an implementer who wishes to take advantage of the patentee’s FRAND obligation, must themselves negotiate in a FRAND manner.

(7) Offers in negotiation which involves rates higher or lower than the FRAND rate but do not disrupt or prejudice the negotiation are legitimate.

(8) An appropriate way to determine a FRAND royalty is to determine a benchmark rate which is governed by the value of the patentee’s portfolio. That will be fair, reasonable and generally non-discriminatory. The rate does not vary depending on the size of the licensee. It will eliminate hold-up and hold-out. Small new entrants are entitled to pay a royalty based on the same benchmark as established large entities.

(9) The non-discrimination limb of FRAND does not consist of a further “hard edged” component which would justify a licensee demanding a lower rate than the benchmark rate because that lower rate had in fact been given to a different but similarly situated licensee. If FRAND does include such a component, then that obligation would only apply if the difference would distort competition between the two licensees.

– by Annsley Merelle Ward in BREAKING: Birss J hands down first FRAND decision in Unwired Planet v Huawei