The recent settlement between Nokia and Daimler has significant ramifications for various companies in the automotive space, and arguably beyond as the issues extend into the IoT space more generally. Nothing has changed. Accordingly, it was interesting to read this interview with Roman Bonn, Senior Vice President Intellectual Property at Continental (a supplier), on JUVE Patent.
As Roman Bonn explains, the settlement has little if any impact on Continental's efforts in the USA and EU to obtain a supplier level exhaustive FRAND licence. Aside from the obvious point that Continental suppliers other car companies, the confidentiality in place means Continental isn't clear it is actually free to undertake its business even as regards Daimler. The point is also made that this issue is about more than just cars, since the principle of supplier licences is relevant to other sectors. Plus there is 5G, which it is suggested is excluded from the Nokia/Daimler settlement.
Aside from continuing its suits, Continental believes that the Nokia/Daimler settlement will put more pressure on the European Commission to step in. Whether that happens remains to be seen - there are other cases, such as Huawei's anti-trust complaint in Germany, that could lead to the CJEU questions in Nokia v Daimler being reanimated in some form, for example, which may preserve the status quo. That said, eyes are also on the USA, where one must also factor in the recent signals in SEP policy shift that are coming out of the Biden Administration.
One thing is clear: Continental believes that a refusal to grant suppliers an exhaustive FRAND licence is an abuse of a dominant position, and has signaled that it intends to obtain confirmation as to whether it is correct both here and across the pond.
The legal arguments are essentially the same. The legal situation has not changed as a result of the settlement between Nokia and Daimler.