In a significant win for Finnish telecommunication equipment maker Nokia, a German court has ruled against Daimler over patent licensing fees with the judge saying the carmaker had not made a serious attempt to resolve the issue with Nokia.
The litigation underscores a wider battle with tech companies and carmakers over royalty payments for technologies used by the latter to ease navigation systems, autonomous driving capabilities and vehicle communications.
The issues at hand are for Nokia, since it makes $1.67 billion (1.4 billion euros) in just licensing fees every year.
The Mannheim court in Germany ruled, neither Daimler nor other parties involved in the case were “seriously prepared or ready to conclude a license agreement” with Nokia on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
The same court had however ruled against Nokia in February.
Currently, there are eight more lawsuits pending in German courts, with the third case scheduled for September 5.
Based on this ruling, Nokia can enforce a sales ban against Daimler; this would however require that it posts a 7-billion-euro bond as a guarantee to cover any damages in the event the ban is overturned on appeal.
Daimler has said, it would appeal the ruling.
In a statement, Nokia said, the court ruling confirmed that its licensing mechanism was fair and that Daimler was using Nokia technologies without authorization.
“We hope that Daimler will now accept its obligations and take a license on fair terms,” said Jenni Lukander, president of Nokia Technologies.
The court also rejected a suggestion from the German cartel office that the case should be referred to Europe’s highest court in Luxembourg, saying it did not consider it appropriate.
($1 = 0.8377 euros)