Oppo and OnePlus phones taken off sale in Germany in Nokia patent dispute

(Image credit: Future)

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo and its OnePlus sub-brand have withdrawn their devices from sale in Germany after losing a legal battle with Nokia over alleged patent infringements.

Nokia accused the two vendors of using its 4G and 5G innovations in their mobile phones without a licence, and successfully argued for a sales injunction in Mannheim Regional Court.

“This is the third time that the courts in Germany have ruled that Oppo is using Nokia’s patented technologies in its smartphones and is selling them illegally without a licence,” a Nokia spokesperson told TechRadar Pro.

EU China patent dispute 

“The Court also found that Nokia has acted fairly. We hope that Oppo accepts its obligations and, like its competitors, renews its licence on fair terms.”

The patents in question are Standards Essential Patents (SEPs), which are innovations that have been contributed to industry standards, such as 5G, and can be used by anyone else provided they pay a fair price for the privilege. These rates are known as fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

In effect, this means anyone that uses an SEP in their product pays a royalty to the owner of the patent.

Legal disputes over SEPs are not uncommon and some companies with large portfolios of SEPs often introduce royalty caps to minimise the likelihood of going to court. For example, Huawei has capped its royalties at $2.50 per device and Nokia has imposed a $3.57 limit.

Both Oppo and OnePlus have complied with the order and blamed Nokia’s unreasonable demands for the legal dispute. They said they hope to resolve the issue, adding that they were still committed to the German market.  

Via The Verge

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.