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| 1 minute read

Oppo says auf wiedersehen to German market

Nokia has continued its string of successful SEP campaigns in Germany, obtaining injunctions on  two of its SEPs against Oppo. It appears the question of enforcement may not arise, however, since Oppo preemptively suspended its German sales and marketing efforts. According to Juve, an Oppo spokesman explained its view that Nokia's licensing demands were unreasonable, and confirmed that [Oppo's] "long-term commitment to the German market remains unchanged and we are proactively working with the relevant parties to resolve the ongoing matter. Apart from suspending the sale and marketing of certain products through Oppo Germany‚Äôs official channels, Oppo will continue to operate in Germany."

The most interesting thing here is that Oppo, a major smartphone manufacturer albeit one of the smaller players in Europe, has actually followed through on a statement of fact made by many other implementers: if the price of staying in the market is too high, then the market is not worth being in.

 The calculus is different for each corporation and each market, but I suspect forever more will similar submissions to courts be reinforced with "look what Oppo did in Germany".

Tactically, of course, it appears Oppo may have had little alternative. I have previously commented on whether a German injunction is as powerful a tool as it first appears (see here), but with Oppo's German sales being relatively low, perhaps the scales of Thoth were not balanced in its favour (a point at which one must accept one's fate, and seek to portray it in the most advantageous light).

Oppo's language implies that it expects to be back, and it appears (at least to this observer) that it has an eye on its global rate setting proceedings in the PRC. Some might say that the German courts have previously purported to ignore a FRAND licence set by a foreign court (Unwired Planet), though plainly the situation becomes more complex, and what if Nokia is ordered to enter a licence by the Chinese courts? 

The geo-political aspects of FRAND bubble on...

Oppo and its subsidiary OnePlus have stopped selling smartphones and smartwatches through their German online stores. The product withdrawal follows defeats in two SEP cases at the Regional Court Munich.


sep frand disputes, technology, patent litigation