If it becomes effective, the sale would be prohibited, paralyze production and order the destruction of cars from 2018 onwards
The Munich Regional Court has imposed a German-wide sales and production ban on the American car manufacturer Ford.. The verdict has to do with the mobile radio chips in the manufacturer’s cars. In total, Ford is being sued by eight mobile phone patent holders required for the 4G standard.
Mobile radio chips must be equipped with the “eCall” system by law. This automatic emergency call system is mandatory in new cars from April 1, 2018 and they are taking over more and more entertainment and navigation functions.
In so-called ‘connected car’ processes, mobile phone patent holders are increasingly putting pressure on car manufacturers to pay license fees for the use of mobile phone technology. In this context,
Japanese patent exploiter IP Bridge has prevailed against Ford before the Munich court.
For the statement to be executed,
IP Bridge must deposit a bond of 227 million euros in court. Time is of the essence: The verdict could be executed in a week or two if the automaker fails to settle with the plaintiff. You can also appeal the verdict.
Ford sold 126,400 cars in Germany (-35%), ranking as the seventh largest manufacturer in the country, with a market share of 4.8%. The Munich sentence even provides for the withdrawal of all cars from dealerships or their destruction and its lawyers study the precedents in Germany. In a similar process, Daimler threatened to completely shut down production in 2020 after four rulings against Mercedes, three in Munich and one in Mannheim.
The mobile phone company Nokia, Sharp and the user Conversant had filed the corresponding lawsuits for patent infringement. Like Ford, Volkswagen was sued by IP Bridge in Munich also because of patents. Nevertheless,
the Wolfsburg-based company did not wait for a court decision and obtained a license from the Avanci patent platform, which includes those of 48 owners, including those of IP Bridge.
Automakers also fear new demands. The Munich ruling is the first against a carmaker since a patent law reform came into effect last summer. In reality, the reform should avoid lawsuits in which, for example, an entire production plant is paralyzed because of a small embedded chip.
“The so-called patent law reform of last summer is once again playing no role”, complains the patent law expert from Munich,
Florian Muller“almost a year after the decisive Bundestag vote, it has served neither car manufacturers nor other companies such as Deutsche Telekom, who also defended it.”
German patent laws are considered particularly strict, and there have been unsuccessful attempts to reform them specifically for the car industry, and to prevent lawsuits from crippling manufacturers’ sales and production.
Ford, in a written statement, declined to comment, saying “he had not yet received the formal position from the court.” ABC has tried to contact the Spanish subsidiary of the brand, but has not received a response either.
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