License law | VW under pressure due to patent infringements

License law | VW under pressure due to patent infringements

License law | The car manufacturer Volkswagen is coming under increasing pressure due to potential infringements of 4G patents and has now been sued by the Japanese rights exploiter IP Bridge before the Munich Regional Court.

The plaintiff accuses Volkswagen of infringing patents that were classified as essential for the 4G standard. The Taiwanese computer manufacturer Acer sued the automotive group in the USA back in December for infringing its 4G patents. Like the plaintiff in the case before the Munich Regional Court, Acer is a member of the Avanci patent pool, which bundles the licences relating to the intellectual property of 48 companies that are relevant to mobile communications. VW confirmed, however, that they had been sued by IP Bridge and that they were deliberating on how to proceed. If the automotive group were to acquire a license from Avanci, it would entail payments amounting to several hundred million euros per year.

So far, Volkswagen has only purchased licences for 2G and 3G from Avanci for the VW, Seat and Skoda brands, although 3G technology has now been switched off in Germany. The premium brands Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini, on the other hand, have current 4G licences. Mobile phone consoles, which enable cars to communicate independently of the driver, are nowadays standard. The e-call emergency function for informing the emergency services in the event of an accident is even required by law. The car manufacturer Daimler was also confronted with lawsuits from Nokia and IP Bridge, among others, but finally decided to acquire a 4G licence from Avanci last year. Whether Volkswagen will also take this step is doubtful, as the legal situation regarding so-called standard-essential patents could change both in Europe and in the USA. In this context, the EU Commission is examining a change to the framework conditions for technologically necessary patents, which could strengthen the position of patent holders.

Source of information: from 03/02/2022


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