The Higher District Court of Düsseldorf specifies the FRAND Conditions

In an order dated November 17, 2016 (I-15 U 66/15), the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf further specified the obligations of the parties to substantiate their case in disputes involving alleged infringement of standard essential patents. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf is of the opinion that the rules and the procedure as laid down in the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in Huawei ./. ZTE (C 170/13) were also applicable to cases that were initiated before the CJEU decision was rendered. The order contains numerous aspects which are relevant in practice. We are emphasising the following: The declaration of the patentee that it is willing to grant a licence under FRAND conditions may also be given during the infringement proceedings (even though the CJEU regarded it necessary that such a declaration be handed over “prior to the enforcement”. The licensors’ obligations to substantiate what exactly is “fair and reasonable” and “non-discriminatory” are strict: The licensor needs to elaborate on the extent of use of the patent portfolio, as the case may be by selecting a limited number of patents (“proud list”), and whether different geographic markets are considered. The licensor also needs to show whether the agreement shall be adapted in case a patent expires or is revoked. Moreover, the licensor needs to elaborate on the equal treatment of market participants, parallel licence agreements, and on a non-discriminatory enforcement of the protective rights against other infringers.