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IPCom GmbH & Co. KG v. Lenovo (France) SAS et al., Tribunal judiciaire de Paris (preliminary proceedings), 20 January 2020

The Tribunal judiciaire de Paris (Paris Court of First Instance) has dismissed IPCom’s preliminary injunction action brought against Lenovo, on the ground that the requested injunction would be disproportionate.

The action was based on European patent No 1 841 268 B2, which was declared to be essential to UMTS (3G) standard to ETSI, and which is due to expire on 15 February 2020.

The judge focused on the assessment of proportionality, considering that the patentee asserting an essential patent has to demonstrate irreparable harm, and that irreparable consequences for the defendants are to be taken into account as well.

He found that IPCom did not prove any irreparable harm, which IPCom attempted to characterize as a loss of value of its patent portfolio. Conversely, he noted that the breadth of the requested injunction, its lasting consequences on sales, its lasting impact on the brand image vis-à-vis customers, and the major disruption of the defendant’s distribution channels, would constitute irreparable harm.

He thus concluded that ordering a preliminary injunction until expiry of the patent would be manifestly disproportionate, underlining that this would provide undue leverage to IPCom and may enable it to impose a non-FRAND license.

A copy of the decision (in French) can be read here.

Headnote: Sabine Agé, Amandine Métier and Alexa Gautherot, HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER VERON