Nokia has filed patent infringement lawsuits against OPPO in the UK, France, India, and other countries. Reportedly, Nokia had signed a global 4G patent cross-licensing agreement back in November 2018.
In an official response to the lawsuit, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer said, “OPPO respects and protects its own and third-party intellectual property rights, and has been committed to benign patent licensing cooperation in the industry. OPPO opposes unreasonable consultations such as using litigation as a tool.”
The root cause of this dispute has to do with the range of the 5G patent fee.
As per Nokia’s terms, each 5G phone that uses its patents should pay the company 3 euros in patent fees; however, this fee is deemed to be too high. “Previously, it has also reached cooperation with Nokia on 4G-related patent licensing. The two parties have negotiated for a period of time on the related issues of the 5G licensing contract, but Nokia advocated extremely unreasonable licensing fees, and through litigation caused OPPO to do the licensing negotiations. To accept its unreasonable license fees” OPPO mentioned.
Nokia has licensed patents with other smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Apple, and BlackBerry. The revenue generated from the licensing has also been a huge part of Nokia’s revenue. In 2016, Nokia filed a lawsuit against Huawei citing the continued usage of the technical licenses from Nokia Technologies and Nokia Communications even after their agreement lapsed. In 2019, the company filed a lawsuit against Lenovo; however, both the companies reached a settlement in April 2021.
According to the data presented by the EPO official website of the European Patent Office, OPPO has had more than 20 patents opposed by various subjects since June 2020. Of late, many smartphone manufacturers have made peace with lawsuits by joining the patent alliance or actively responding to the lawsuit filed by other companies. OPPO stated that on May 6, 2021, that it has joined the HEVC Advance patent pool as a licensor. Previously, Oppo has reached patent licenses with companies such as Qualcomm Ericsson, Dolby, MPEG LA, etc.
One way for the Chinese companies to break free of the constraints imposed by the other companies and their patents is to strengthen their own innovation capabilities and to make their own invention patents the new standard.