The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf decides on confidentiality obligations in the context of FRAND

The plaintiff and owner of a standard essential patent (SEP) has to substantiate that it has offered a license to the infringer which corresponds to the FRAND conditions during the infringement proceedings. Such offer may not unduly discriminate the defendant in comparison to already existent licensees. In litigation, the SEP owner has to reveal the content of other license agreements. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf now rendered a decision on December 14, 2016 (I-2 U 31/16) that deals with the issue of confidentiality of the terms of such agreements. The court held that the plaintiff and SEP owner cannot request that the content of license contracts submitted are for attorney’s eyes only, and not to be handed over to the defendant. Rather, the defendant is entitled to obtain complete information. However, the plaintiff may request that the defendant signs a non-disclosure agreement that provides for payment of a contractual penalty for each case of violation. According to the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, the defendant has a duty to sign in order to show its efforts to conclude a license agreement if it want to rely on the FRAND defense.