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從Huawei v. ZTE案件來看 歐盟司法院初步對於SEPs與禁制令救濟看法

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科技產業資訊室 (iKnow) - May & 吳一心 發表於 2014年12月5日
背景說明
自2011年4月開始,華為(Huawei)、中興通訊(ZTE)這兩家中國通訊設備大廠之間的市場競爭激烈而引發專利戰爭不斷:華為在德國、法國、匈牙利等地區起訴中興侵犯其數據卡、LTE等相關專利;中興則在中國就LTE相關專利對華為發起18項訴訟。
 
本案緣起於Huawei指訴ZTE侵犯標準必要專利(SEPs)一案,該案件2013年3月由德國杜塞爾多夫地區法院提交給歐盟司法院(CJEU)審理,關於4G LTE移動通信標準必要專利SEPs中有關“意願被授權人”含義的眾多基礎問題之見解。
 
在無法通過談判就專利費支付達成公平、合理和非歧視(FRAND)條款後,ZTE指出Huawei拒絕授予SEPs是濫用市場支配地位。還有,ZTE表達使用該專利授權協議之意願,華為申請禁令是濫用市場支配地位,法庭不應該支持。
 
因此,本案的重點在於SEPs授權實施以及根據《歐洲聯盟運作條約》第102條--禁止市場支配地位濫用--禁制令救濟在何種情況下應被禁止。本案訴訟對SEPs技術標準實施的專利持有者,及標準技術使用者都是非常重要的。
 
歐盟法院檢察長於2014年11月20日發布他的裁決意見,這可能會對未來專利訴訟政策造成重大影響,對有關SEPs的使用授權談判策略有直接的影響。該案件的最終裁決可能會在2015年春季做出。 
 
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以下是2014年11月20日歐盟法院檢察長發布他的裁決意見,供為產業界參考:
 
根據檢察長(Advocate General) Wathelet,在尋求法律命令去對抗侵權公司前,持有一標準必要專利所有人可被要求對侵權公司提出一個特定的授權提議。適用情形為:當專利所有人處於主導地位,並且向標準組織承諾基於FRAND公平、合理且非歧視性條件下授權第三方,並且當侵權者準備好、願意並且有能力簽訂這樣的授權合約。
According to Advocate General Wathelet, the proprietor of a standard-essential patent may be required, before seeking an injunction against a company that has infringed that patent, to make that company a specific licensing offer
That applies where the proprietor of the patent is in a dominant position and has made a commitment to the standards body to grant third parties a licence on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and where the infringer is ready, willing and able to enter into such a licensing agreement.
 
華為,擁有LTE標準相關的歐洲專利,專利與4G無線通訊相關。所有遵守此標準不可避免的要使用華為的專利,故這項專利被歸類為「必要」。華為為歐洲電信標準組織 (European Telecommunications Standards Institute ,ETSI)一員,並且告知組織此一專利,同時向ETSI承諾以公平、合理且非歧視性(Fair, Reasonable, Non-discriminatory,以下統稱「FRAND」)的條件授權第三方。
Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, holds a European patent regarded as ‘essential’ to the ‘Long Term Evolution’ (LTE) standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The LTE standard relates to next generation — that is to say, fourth generation — mobile phone communications. Anyone complying with the standard inevitably uses the patent owned by Huawei, which is why that patent is categorised as ‘essential’. Huawei is a member of ETSI and notified the patent to that institute. Huawei also made a commitment to ETSI to grant licences to third parties on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
 
在眾多中興通訊(一中國公司集團)在德國的行銷產品中,具有LTE軟體的基地台。而中興通訊不可避免的使用華為專利。由於華為與中興通訊所討論的FRAND授權條件並未成功,華為向德國杜賽道夫法院對中興通訊提出侵權訴訟。透過這項行動,華為尋求禁止繼續侵權的法律命令,命令呈報帳戶以及產品和損害的退回。中興通訊主張,願意對授權進行協商,所以華為這項禁制令(injunction)是構成濫用市場支配地位。
Among the products marketed in Germany by ZTE, a group of Chinese companies, are base stations with LTE software and ZTE is therefore unavoidably making use of Huawei’s patent. Since discussions between Huawei and ZTE regarding the possibility of concluding a licensing agreement on FRAND terms were unsuccessful, Huawei brought an action for infringement against ZTE before the Landgericht Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Regional Court, Germany). By that action, Huawei seeks an injunction prohibiting continuation of the infringement, an order for the rendering of accounts, recall of products and damages. According to ZTE, the action for a prohibitory injunction constitutes an abuse of a dominant position, since ZTE is willing to negotiate a licence.
 
德國法院向司法部提及了一些問題。欲確認在何種情形之下,為了符合歐盟競爭法目的且專利持有人(patent holder)已承諾會根據FRAND條件授權時,標準必要專利持有人對遵循標準的製造商時會構成濫用市場支配地位(註釋1)。
The German court has referred a number of questions to the Court of Justice. It is seeking to ascertain whether — and, if so, in what circumstances — an action for infringement brought by the holder of a patent which is ‘essential to a standard developed by a standards body’ (standard-essential patent (SEP)) against a manufacturer of products which comply with that standard constitutes an abuse of a dominant position for the purposes of EU competition law where the patent holder has made a commitment to grant licences on FRAND terms.1
 
檢察長Melchior Wathelet意見認為,首先指出杜賽道夫法院根據華為持有主導地位的假設來進行訴訟,但是Wathelet提到一公司持有標準必要專利不代表其有主導地位。而且,這是需要全國性的法院以個案情形去決定的(註釋2)。
In today’s Opinion, Advocate General Melchior Wathelet first notes that the Landgericht Düsseldorf has proceeded on the assumption that Huawei holds a dominant position. However, the Advocate General points out that the fact that a company owns an SEP does not necessarily mean that it holds a dominant position and that it is for the national court to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether that is indeed so. 2
 
檢察長Wathelet提議,由杜賽道夫法院提出的問題應得到以下回覆:
That said, the Advocate General proposes that the questions referred by the Landgericht Düsseldorf should be answered as follows:
 
當一必要標準必要專利持有人向標準組織承諾以FRAND條件授權第三方時,構成濫用市場支配地位(註釋3)在於持有人尋求禁制令(injunction)來對抗侵權必要標準專利的公司(以下簡稱「侵權人infinger」)(註釋4),如果這項行為成功,即使侵權公司表明其客觀上準備好、願意且有能力簽授權合約,將會使侵權公司所提供的服務或產品被排除於標準涵蓋的市場。
Where the proprietor of a standard-essential patent (SEP) has made a commitment to a standards body to grant third parties a licence on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, it constitutes an abuse of a dominant position3 for that proprietor to request corrective measures or to seek an injunction against a company that has infringed the SEP (‘the infringer’)4 (an action which, if successful, may cause the products and services supplied by the offending company to be excluded from the markets covered by the standard), where it is shown that the SEP holder has not honoured its commitment even though the offending company has shown itself to be objectively ready, willing and able to enter into such a licensing agreement.
 
為了行使上述承諾並且避免濫用市場支配地位,除已確定侵權人完全知悉侵權,標準必要專利持有人必須在要求更正措施或是禁制令申請之前以書寫方式提醒侵權人侵權事項、理由,指明相關標準專利並且告知為何侵權。不論任何情形,標準必要專利持有人必須向所認定的侵權人出示具備FRAND條件的文字授權提案,必須包括所有正常已定及尚未定案部分的授權條件,例如權利金計算方式及確實的數字。
In order to honour that commitment and to avoid abusing a dominant position, the SEP holder must, before making a request for corrective measures or seeking an injunction, alert the infringer to the infringement at issue in writing, giving reasons, and specifying the SEP concerned and the way in which it has been infringed by that company, unless it has been established that the alleged infringer is fully aware of the infringement. The SEP holder must, in any event, present the alleged infringer with a written offer of a licence on FRAND terms and that offer must contain all the terms normally included in a licence in the sector in question, including the precise amount of the royalty and the way in which that amount is calculated.
 
侵權人必須以誠懇及嚴謹的態度回應提案。如果不接受標準必要專利持有人的提案,則必須儘快向標準必要專利持有人以書寫方式對於其不同意的條件提出合理的反提案。如果侵權人的行為純粹為策略性、拖延性或不具嚴謹性,則申請禁制令將不構成濫用市場支配地位行為。
The infringer must respond to that offer in a diligent and serious manner. If it does not accept the SEP holder’s offer, it must promptly present the latter with a reasonable counter-offer, in writing, in relation to the clauses with which it disagrees. An application for corrective measures or for an injunction does not constitute an abuse of a dominant position if the conduct of the infringer is purely tactical and/or dilatory and/or not serious.
 
假如協議未開始或是未成功,若被認定侵權人的行為要求FRAND條件被法院或仲裁庭的修正,不被認為延遲或不嚴謹。在此情形下,標準必要專利持有人向侵權人要求提供銀行擔保支付權利金(bank guarantee )或是要求在仲裁法庭存入與過往或未來使用專利相關的臨時金額,將視為是合理的。如果侵權人在簽訂授權合約後保留在法院或仲裁庭前質疑專利的有效性、使用及基本性質的權利,則在協議授權的FRAND條件時,則此行為不可被認為推拖或是不嚴謹的行為(註釋5)。
If negotiations are not commenced or are unsuccessful, the conduct of the alleged infringer cannot be regarded as dilatory or as not serious if it requests that FRAND terms be fixed either by a court or by an arbitration tribunal. In that event, it is legitimate for the SEP holder to ask the infringer either to provide a bank guarantee for the payment of royalties or to deposit a provisional sum at the court or arbitration tribunal in respect of its past and future use of the patent.
Nor can an infringer’s conduct be regarded as dilatory or as not serious during negotiations for a licence on FRAND terms if it reserves the right, after entering into an agreement for such a licence, to challenge before a court or arbitration tribunal the validity, use and essential nature of that patent.5
 
專利持有人以法律作為確保侵權人提交(rendering)支付保證金的帳戶,此舉並未濫用SEP持有人的支配地位。而是由全國性法院去確保相關措施是否合理及適當。
In taking legal action to secure the rendering of accounts, the SEP holder does not abuse a dominant position. It is for the national court in question to ensure that the measure is reasonable and proportionate.
 
對過去未取得SEPs專利授權使用而要求先支付損害求償,是為得到先前專利侵權賠償,則標準必要專利持有人並未構成濫用市場支配地位。
In bringing a claim for damages in respect of past use of the patent, for the sole purpose of obtaining compensation for previous infringements of its patent, the SEP holder does not abuse a dominant position.
 
說明:檢察長的意見並不對司法院具有約束能力,在完全獨立之下,檢察長的角色是向法院提出一個他們負責案件的解決方法。法院的法官正在思考本案件,並會在之後作出判決。
NOTE: The Advocate General’s Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice. It is the role of the Advocates General to propose to the Court, in complete independence, a legal solution to the cases for which they are responsible. The Judges of the Court are now beginning their deliberations in this case. Judgment will be given at a later date.
 
說明:初步解釋令的參考允許處理爭議的會員法院及仲裁庭向司法院提出有關歐盟法律解讀或是一項歐盟法案的有效性,司法院本身不決定爭議。全國性法院或是仲裁庭依據司法院的決定去處理案件,司法院的決定對於其他處理相關議題的全國性法院或仲裁庭具有相似約束力。
NOTE: A reference for a preliminary ruling allows the courts and tribunals of the Member States, in disputes which have been brought before them, to refer questions to the Court of Justice about the interpretation of EU law or the validity of a European Union act. The Court of Justice does not decide the dispute itself. It is for the national court or tribunal to dispose of the case in accordance with the Court’s decision, which is similarly binding on other national courts or tribunals before which a similar issue is raised
 
Unofficial document for media use, not binding on the Court of Justice.
The full text of the Opinion is published on the CURIA website on the day of delivery.
Press contact: Christopher Fretwell  (+352) 4303 3355
 
圖一、華為與中興通訊在歐盟司法院之4G標準必要專利訴訟
 
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註釋:
 
1.從這些問題的角度觀察,檢察長將其分析限制在競爭法,特別是有關濫用市場支配地位問題。在他的觀點看來,事件爭議點主要源自缺乏對於FRAND條件在內容及含義上明確的說明,即使不見得比競爭法更好,不表示此爭議事件不能在競爭法之外其他法規或是機制下被適當的解決。
1. In the light of those questions, the Advocate General has confined his analysis to competition law and, in particular, to the question of abuse of a dominant position. However, that does not mean that the matters at issue, which, in his view, mainly result from a lack of clarity as to the actual meaning and content of FRAND terms, could not be adequately, if not better, resolved in the context of other branches of law or by mechanisms other than the rules of competition law.
 
2.雖然所有遵守標準組織所設定標準的成員必須利用標準專利的教學這項事實會造起一可反駁推定:專利持有人具有主導地位。檢察長Wathelet認為一定要可能以特定且詳細的證據駁回此推定。
2. Although the fact that anyone complying with a standard set by a standards body must inevitably make use of the teaching of an SEP (thus requiring a licence from the patent proprietor) may give rise to a rebuttable presumption that the owner of that patent holds a dominant position, Mr Wathelet is of the opinion that it must be possible to rebut that presumption with specific, detailed evidence.
 
3.根據歐洲聯盟運作條約第102條。
3. In accordance with Article 102 TFEU.
 
4.根據歐洲議會2004/48/EC指導原則第10及11條以及2004年4月29日委員會強制執行的智慧財產權。
4. In accordance with Article 10 and Article 11, respectively, of Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (OJ 2004 L 157, p. 45).
 
5.檢察長提到歐洲電信標準組織(ETSI)並不證實會員通知的智慧財產權是否有效或必要,關於LTE標準,歐洲電信標準組織有超過4700個專利為必要,而大部分這些專利可能不是有效或必要的。(2086字;圖1)
5. The Advocate General notes in that regard that ETSI does not verify whether an intellectual property right of which it has been notified by one of its members is valid or essential. With regard to the LTE standard, it would appear that more than 4 700 patents have been notified as essential to ETSI and that a large proportion of those may not be valid or essential to the standard. 
 
 
資料來源:
According to Advocate General Wathelet, the proprietor of a standard-essential patent may be required, before seeking an injunction against a company that has infringed that patent, to make that company a specific licensing offer,Court of Justice of the European Union,PRESS RELEASE No 155/14,Luxembourg, 20 November 2014 at 
 
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