Conversant v Huawei [2018] EWHC 808 (Pat)

23 May 2018

Adrian Speck QC, Isabel Jamal and Thomas Jones appeared for the Claimant, Conversant, in the Defendants’ challenge to the jurisdiction of the English court.

Conversant’s claim is for patent infringement by the Defendants, and seeks the determination of a FRAND licence as part of its claimed relief. The Defendants argued that the English court had no jurisdiction, first on the basis that the claim for a global FRAND determination requires the determination of infringement of foreign patents, or in the alternative that England is forum non conveniens and China is the proper forum.

The Judge held that, following Birss J’s decision in Unwired Planet v Huawei [2017] EWHC 2988, even where a challenge to the validity of a foreign patent is pending in other jurisdictions, the English court has jurisdiction to set a global FRAND licence. He accepted that any determination of the validity and infringement of the Chinese patents would be dealt with in China but found that this could be reflected in the terms of the global FRAND licence, which would likely end up before the court after the Chinese litigation in any event.

The Judge further held that England was the appropriate forum in which the claims should be heard, and accordingly dismissed the Defendants’ forum non conveniens argument.

Finally, the Defendants argued that the Claimant had not correctly served the Chinese Defendants. The Judge found that neither of the Chinese Defendants had been served, but granted permission for the Claimant to serve them out of the jurisdiction.

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