Lenovo is continuing its fight for transparency in licensing negotiations by mounting its own campaign against global technology companies seeking excessive rates for their patent portfolios. As a global technology leader and patent owner, Lenovo respects the work and investment that goes into innovating but is committed to ensuring that customers don’t lose out when access to innovation becomes unavailable or unaffordable due to unreasonable global patent licensing fees.
In October, Ericsson sent a demand for its cellular portfolio that Lenovo believed to be supra-FRAND and filed actions against Lenovo in the International Trade Commission seeking exclusion orders on both its cellular standard essential patents and its non-standard essential patents. In response, Lenovo sought support from the High Court of England again to assist the parties in determining a rate and terms that are FRAND not only as to Ericsson’s portfolio of patents but also voluntarily offered up Lenovo’s portfolio for a consideration of FRAND terms for a cross-license between the parties.
Lenovo hoped that Ericsson would agree to have a neutral, knowledgably third party of the UK Court’s esteem determine the FRAND terms for a cross-license between the parties as a means of resolving the parties’ disputes. Ericsson instead filed an action against Lenovo in Brazil, seeking an immediate injunction against the sale of all Motorola phones in Brazil, which we will vigorously defend against in Court. Lenovo believes this is yet another example of Ericsson’s un-FRAND behavior in seeking to use injunctions to try to extract supra-FRAND rates from licensees.
Commenting on its latest actions, John Mulgrew, Lenovo’s Deputy General Counsel and Chief Intellectual Property Officer, said: “We are in a place now where we have the double burden of companies seeking excessive and unreasonable rates for their standard essential patents, while also using threats of injunctions to pressurize negotiations. While litigation is our last resort, we will always advocate for licensing on a FRAND basis regardless of whether we are the licensee or licensor.”
Lenovo’s filings are the latest in its campaign calling for open, fair, and transparent licensing negotiations. With more and more SEP holders seeking to pressurize negotiations through the threat of injunctions, Lenovo seeks to force those same SEP holders to engage in fair negotiations with transparency and integrity.
Lenovo also holds itself to the same standards and is proactively asking the High Court of England to establish terms and rates that are FRAND for Lenovo’s own robust portfolio of patents. Lenovo reiterates that it is unconditionally willing to take licenses to SEPs on FRAND terms, but when SEP holders seek to impose inflated rates, customers are the ones to suffer, and Lenovo seeks to remedy this through open and transparent rate-setting proceedings.
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