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Conversant and Daimler settle - so where are we with SEP litigation in the automotive space?

The recent settlement between Conversant and Daimler was noteworthy as it brings to an end a significant dispute between an NPE and an automotive manufacturer in the SEP space. Of course, the details of the agreement are unknown, but as various articles have speculated, the fact that numerous Daimler Tier 2 suppliers now have got licences to Conversant's SEPs (through its deal with RPX or otherwise) means that a settlement between Conversant and Daimler was more likely.

Of course, the biggest bit of litigation in this space remains open, being the fight between Nokia and Daimler (and Continental). This is a reminder that really the latest settlement is only half the story. What is really at stake is the soul of SEP licensing in the automotive space. At least the English Courts consider, and seek to emulate, real-world licensing practices when settling FRAND disputes. Accordingly, in the virgin territory of a new sector, the race to establish those licensing practices is arguably a far more important prize than any particular piece of litigation. It remains to be seen just where the cards will fall in that regard.

A dispute between Conversant and Daimler over connectivity modules in cars is in the past, as the two companies have reached a settlement. This makes Nokia and IP Bridge against Daimler the last major dispute involving connected cars patents.


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