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Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to Bring Clarity to the Enforcement of Standard-Essential Patents (SEPs) in Europe

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Geert Glas

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12 September 2014

The enforcement of SEPs in Europe has been the subject of heated debate for several years, as well as being one of the principal themes of the “patent wars” that have been raging between major players in the telecoms sector.

Competition authorities have, over time, taken positions seeking to restrict SEP-owners’ ability to seek aggressive remedies (in particular, injunctive remedies) against alleged infringers. However, the legal soundness of these positions has not previously been tested. Fortunately, this is now precisely the subject matter of the Huawei v. ZTE case, on which the CJEU held an important hearing today.

The outcome of this case will be enormously important to SEP owners and standard implementers alike, affecting the values attributable to technology patent portfolios, along with future enforcement/licensing strategies. It is however to be expected that a number of questions will remain unanswered, even once the CJEU has spoken.

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