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| 1 minute read

Sisvel anti-trust complaint can proceed, rules Supreme People's Court of the PRC

One of the issues raised in the Unwired / Conversant UK Supreme Court appeal was the interaction between FRAND rate setting and foreign competition / anti-trust / anti-monopoly law (depending on one's vernacular). Based on this article, it appears we are starting to see how that might play out.

In summary, Sisvel began litigation against Oppo (and other companies) in various jurisdictions, but primarily in the UK where it brought a global rate setting case founded on alleged patent infringement. Oppo countered inter alia with a FRAND rate setting action in China (limited to the relevant Chinese alleged SEPs) and, more importantly, a separate complaint alleging Sisvel's SEP licensing practices violated Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law.

The SPC has rejected Sisvel's jurisdiction challenge brought in respect of the anti-monopoly complaint, which will now proceed. The reasons given by the SPC (set out in the article) are interesting, in particular the suggestion that jurisdiction could be exercised because the alleged abuses of dominance (including charging allegedly unfair patent rates) impacted Oppo's competition conditions and caused economic losses in China where it is headquartered. The same logic likely applies to any PRC-based implementer.

I also note one argument by Sisvel was that courts in other jurisdictions (e.g. the UK) will consider and rule on questions of abuse of dominance if raised. The interesting question there is whether it was being suggested that that would be under the relevant local law, or if Sisvel was suggesting the alleged breach of Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law should be considered abroad. The latter is unlikely, but the issue with the former is whether that is really the same allegation.

The Supreme People’s Court of China has dismissed an appeal by Sisvel, confirming that the Guangzhou IP Court can hear an antitrust complaint brought against the European licensor by Oppo.


sep frand disputes