Between Patent Protection and Abuse of Dominance: Highest EU Court Issues Landmark Decision on Standard-Essential Patents

19 August 2015
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Key takeaways

  • In its Huawei judgment of July 16, 2015, the European Court of Justice has issued an important ruling that clarifies for the first time at which point the holder of a standard-essential patent (“SEP”) violates EU antitrust law by seeking a prohibitory injunction against an infringer of its Intellectual Property (“IP”).
  • Germany, one of the most popular venues for IP disputes, is particularly affected by this judgment. Its courts, which are estimated to handle sixty to seventy percent of patent infringement cases filed in the European Union, will have to adapt their jurisprudence. The consequences of this decision for future patent litigators may thus be significant.
  • Disputes about the rights and obligations of SEP holders are on the rise worldwide, and case-law to guide decision-makers is scarce. Legal disputes about the unresolved issues in this field will thus continue to arise, and patent holders and users alike are advised to pay close attention to current developments.