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VoiceAge victorious in nullity suits against HMD as battle enters final stage

IPR Daily

2024-02-01 16:12:52

VoiceAge EVS continues to successfully enforce its patents in its ongoing dispute with HMD. The German Federal Court of Justice has upheld the company’s patents EP 1 509 903 and EP 2 162 880 at the highest instance (case IDs: X ZR 11/22 and X ZR 14/22). Both patents belong to the speech-coding standard EVS, which VoiceAge played a key role in developing.


VoiceAge successful on invalidity

The Federal Court of Justice has now dismissed HMD’s appeals. The Federal Patent Court had previously upheld EP 903 and slightly restricted EP 880. Now, with the final confirmation of the validity of the two patents, the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court can continue the two infringement proceedings. The court had not suspended them in view of HMD’s nullity actions.


In 2021 and 2022, the Regional Court Mannheim had ordered HMD to cease and desist from infringing both patents, with HMD appealing against this decision to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court. The infringement action relating to EP 903 is now to be continued in April. However, following the patent’s expiry, the case only concerns damages for past infringement and not an injunction. The court has not yet scheduled the infringement appeal for EP 880.


Five injunctions, one suspension

In 2019, VoiceAge sued HMD over five patents in Mannheim and Munich, including EP 903 and EP 880. In 2021, Mannheim Regional Court also found that HMD had infringed EP 2 707 687. So far, VoiceAge has also had success in Munich. The city’s regional court ordered HMD to cease and desist infringement of EP 3 132 443 and EP 2 102 619.


HMD appealed against all judgments to the higher regional courts in Karlsruhe and Munich. Only the proceedings concerning EP 443 were temporarily suspended by the Munich Higher Regional Court. This was a glimmer of hope for HMD after the Federal Patent Court had declared this patent invalid. However, the court upheld the other four patents.


The Higher Regional Court Munich will also hear the appeal against EP 619 in April. It seems that this month could be decisive for HMD.


HMD not the only defendant

VoiceAge also sued other mobile phone manufacturers in 2019. In the meantime, more than 30 lawsuits were pending against ten mobile phone manufacturers in Mannheim and Munich. Nullity suits against all SEPs owned by VoiceAge EVS are also pending.


Apple, Motorola, Lenovo, TCL and Xiaomi have since accepted a licence from VoiceAge, according to JUVE Patent’s information. Most of them settled before the courts could issue judgments.


Like HMD, Honor, Oppo, and its subsidiaries Vivo and Realme continue to fight the lawsuits. Last year, however, Munich Regional Court also found Honor and Oppo guilty of infringing EP 903 and EP 880.


Tight team sees success

So far, Bosch Jehle and Wildanger have made a successful team. Both firms have worked together intensively for many years for SEP holders such as VoiceAge EVS. Previously, both law firms led a successful joint campaign for NPE Saint Lawrence.


Patent attorney firm Bosch Jehle traditionally has very good ties to VoiceAge. Partners Thomas Hell and Rudolf Reichold are responsible for the technical side, while a large team of partners from Wildanger are responsible for the infringement actions.


HMD also relies on a well-established team of patent attorneys and lawyers. The handset maker instructs Samson & Partner and Hoyng ROKH Monegier. Both firms have a close working relationship.

Source:https://www.juve-patent.com/cases/voiceage-victorious-nullity-suits-hmd-battle-voice-coding-technology/Mathieu Klos

Editor: Peter

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