The District Court of the Hague, the Netherlands, ruled today that the Dutch part of Vringo Inc.’s (VRNG) European Patent No 1,186,119 is invalid in a case filed by ZTE Corp.’s Dutch subsidiary in October 23, 2014.
New York-based Vringo, the patent licensing company run by CEO Andrew Perlman, said it plans to appeal the Hague Court’s ruling, which it noted deviates from a previous decision by the president of the court in Oct. 24, 2014 rejecting the Chinese telecom company’s invalidity argument and affirming the seizure of ZTE products detained by Dutch authorities under the country’s anti piracy regulation.
Vringo and ZTE remain locked in a bitter multi jurisdictional infringement war in the Netherlands, Germany, the U.K., Romania, India, Brazil, China and the U.S.
Vringo noted that previously, the validity of EP 119 was confirmed by both the Opposition Division and the Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office, following opposition proceedings initiated by Qualcomm.
In Germany, Vringo said it continues to enforce an injunction against ZTE based on EP 119, which was issued by a German court on December 17, 2013 upon finding that ZTE infringed EP 119. The injunction remains in place following today’s ruling. In addition, on July 23, 2015, the German Patents Court issued a preliminary opinion regarding ZTE’s invalidity arguments with respect to EP 119, holding the preliminary view that EP 119 is valid.
Today’s decision in the Netherlands will be suspended pending Vringo’s appeal.
Meanwhile, the company is expecting a significant damages award against ZTE in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in a dispute over ZTE’s breach of a nondisclosure agreement the two companies signed during licensing talks.
The federal court has found ZTE breached the NDA several times and has rebuked the Chinese telecom company for abusive discovery delay tactics that included concealing the reason its chief counsel didn’t want to appear in New York for a deposition by Vringo attorneys. Indeed, the company was forced to admit that chief counsel Guo Xiouaming refused to appear because he feared being arrested because of a criminal probe into alleged violations of trade sanctions against Iran.
Vringo has asked for case dispositive sanctions in the case because of ZTE’s delay tactics. Judge Lewis Kaplan said last year in a hearing that based on the NDA breaches Vringo was likely entitled to significant damages.
In China, the company said the Patent Re-Examination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China today, following an earlier oral hearing, upheld the validity of ZL200580013835.X in response to a re-examination request filed by ZTE. T
Vringo aid the patent is the Chinese equivalent of IN 243,980, which is currently being asserted against ZTE in India. The company said this was ZTE’s second attempt to invalidate the patent, following ZTE’s withdrawal of its first re-examination request.
According to Vringo, ZTE has filed re-examination requests for 33 of Vringo’s Chinese patents. To date, 18 of those patents have been upheld as valid, 2 have been declared valid-in-part, and 13 have been found invalid, and are pending appeal.
—To reach the reporter responsible for this story please contact Dan Lonkevich at 707 318-7899 or email@example.com