According to a Nokia release, the court has confirmed that the teleommunications technology provider acted in a fair way in licensing its cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs), and that Daimler is using Nokia technologies without authorization. The company regards the decision as an important milestone to confirm the quality of Nokia's patent portfolio and validates its automotive licensing program.
The vehicle manufacturer announced an appeal against the ruling. "We do not understand the ruling and will appeal against it," a Daimler spokesperson said.
Nokia has an established licensing program and many automotive brands already license its patents for their connected vehicles, including Audi, Bentley, BMW, Mini, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen.
Nokia has several patent infringement actions pending against Daimler in Germany. The injunction at hand was obtained with patent EP 2 981 103, which enables the car or other end user devices to communicate more efficiently with LTE networks. Nokia has patented this invention in multiple countries. Another Nokia lawsuit against Daimler had been dismissed by the Mannheim Regional Court; two other proceedings were suspended.
Nokia contributes its cellular technologies to open standards in return for the right to license them on fair and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Companies can license and use these technologies without the need to make their own substantial investments in R&D. The availability of such cellular connectivity technologies has enabled automotive manufacturers to bring connectivity to their vehicles. Automakers usually charge a significant premium for the enhanced safety, information and entertainment features enabled by these technologies.
According to market observers, the patent dispute could in the worst case lead to a ban on sales and production for the vehicles in question. However, Daimler stated that it did not expect that the current ruling would lead to such a production or sales stop