LONDON (Reuters) – China’s Lenovo Group Ltd must pay U.S. technology firm InterDigital Inc $138.7 million for a licence for its portfolio of telecommunications patents, London’s High Court ruled on Thursday in the latest round of a long-running dispute.
InterDigital brought the lawsuit against Lenovo in 2019 over the terms on which Lenovo should take a licence of its patents which are essential to 3G, 4G and 5G standards.
The litigation, which has so far featured five separate trials, centres on the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms of a licence for InterDigital’s patents.
Judge James Mellor said in a written ruling on Thursday that previous offers made by both Lenovo and InterDigital – which had offered $337 million for a six-year licence – were not made on FRAND terms.
He said Lenovo should pay a $138.7 million “lump sum” to cover past and future sales of mobile devices from 2007 until the end of 2023.
Lenovo described the ruling as “a major win for the technology industry and the customers we serve”.
John Mulgrew, Lenovo’s chief intellectual property officer, said in a statement the decision “reinforces FRAND’s critical role in facilitating transparent and equitable licensing practices for standardized technologies”.
InterDigital’s Chief Legal Officer Josh Schmidt welcomed what he said was the ruling’s recognition that “a licensee should pay in full for the past infringement of standard essential patents”.
However, he said in a statement: “We plan to appeal, as we believe that certain aspects of the decision do not accurately reflect our licensing program.”
London-based patent lawyer Mark Marfe, who was not involved in the case, said the decision reinforced the High Court’s willingness to grant a global FRAND licence.
China is the only other jurisdiction where courts have set global FRAND rates for so-called standard essential patents.
Marfe added that “all eyes will be on the Unified Patent Court”, a common patent court for European Union member states which opens in June, to see whether it takes a similar approach.
(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Mark Potter)