Telecom and Communications Team

 

Our telecom team having special knowledge, technical specializations and expertise in the field of telecom and communication technology, has dealt with a wide array of cases in the field of:

 

  •     Telecommunication devices such as mobile phones, smartphones, tablets etc.;

  •     Wireless communication technologies based on standards such as 2G, 3G, EDGE, 4G LTE etc.;

  •     Wireless communication systems;

  •     Electric Communication Techniques;

  •     Transmission systems;

  •     Devices and methods for transmission of digital information;

  •     Telephonic communication systems;

  •     Television systems, pictorial communication etc.;

  •     Broadcast communication, multiplex communication;

  •     Electric digital data processing; Coding and decoding of information

  •     Signaling;

  •     Electric elements;

  •     Computing;

  •     Electronic circuitry;

  •     Measurement;

  •     Musical/acoustic instruments.  

 

Our telecom and communication team, comprising of patent attorneys closely working with experienced patent analysts and engineers is committed towards delivering high on quality work, ensuring utmost satisfaction to  our domestic as well as international clients.

 

The Indian Patent Law 

 

Basic patentability requirements prescribed by the Indian Paten Act viz. novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability are also applicable to telecommunication inventions. However, such inventions often involve the use of hardware devices and software programmes, and are therefore challenged under Sections 3 (f) and 3(k) the Act.

 

Section 3(f) is applicable to hardware devices which states that the mere arrangement or rearrangement or duplication of known devices; is not an invention and hence is not patentable.

 

On the other hand section 3 (k) declares mathematical methods, software programmes per se and algorithms to be non patentable.

 

Current Scenario in India

 

Patent activity in the telecom and communication sector in India, has been on a steep increase in the recent past, including filing of patent applications and litigation matters. Companies such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, Samsung, Micromax etc., have been in the forefront while protecting their IP in India, with Qualcomm owning the highest number of telecom patents.

 

 The Telecom Industry, in the recent past, has been under the surveillance of the CCI (Competition Commission of India) as well as the High Courts, involving suits relating to infringement of Standard Essential Patents (SEP), violation of FRAND terms and alleged anti-competitive practices.

 

One such case is the Ericsson v Micromax case:

 

  • The first Indian telecom case relating to FRAND litigation.

  • Ericsson alleged Micromax for infringement of its SEP by selling devices based on Ericsson’s SEPs without obtaining a license on FRAND terms.

  • The Delhi High Court passed an ad interim order directing Micromax to pay royalties as demanded by Ericsson.

  • Subsequently, Micromax approached to the CCI under Section 19(1) (a) of the Competition Act, 2002 to look into the matter, alleging that Ericsson had abused its dominant position by imposing exorbitant royalties. The CCI ordered an investigation in the matter, which was challenged by Ericsson before the Delhi High Court. The Court barred CCI to interfere with the ongoing infringement proceedings and not to pass any final order before the disposal of the suit.

 

Ericsson has initiated similar infringements proceedings against other telecommunication companies such as Intex, Gionee, Xiomi and Kingtech.

 

The Indian Telecom Industry

 

  •  World’s second largest industry

  •   One of the fastest growing industries in the world

  •   More than 1,000 million telephone subscribers

  •   Around 300 million internet users

  •   Overall tele-density (number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living in an area) of 77.58

  •   Total Revenue of USD 33,350 million.

 

Major telecom companies are:

 

  • Qualcomm

  • Ericsson

  • Samsung

  • Micromax

  • Motorolla

  • Sony Ericsson

  • Nokia

  • LG

  • Gionee

 

Telecommunication service providers are:

  • Airtel

  • Vodafone

  • IDEA

  • Reliance Infocomm

  • MTNL and BSNL being government held companies.

 

International Updates

 

Lately, the courts in other jurisdictions have been rather stringent while granting injunctive relief to the plaintiff in infringement suits. The European and United States courts, in their landmark decisions have ruled, seeking of injunctions by SEP holders in case of “willing licensee” to be anticompetitive.

 

On April 29, 2014, the European Commission (EC) in two of its decisions including Samsung and Motorola, taking a “safe harbor” approach for willing licensees, held that a patent holder shall be said to have abused his dominant position when he seeks a SEP based injunction despite the fact the SEP holder has agreed to license such patent on FRAND terms and the licensee is a willing licensee to take the patent on such terms. The same was upheld in Huawei v ZTE, 2015, wherein the ECJ held that in order to seek an injunctive relief in a SEP based infringement proceedings, it is essential for the patent holder to disclose the manner in which his patent has been infringed and to offer the license to the alleged infringer on FRAND terms.

The above decision of the EC was in line with the US Federal Court’s decision in MMI/Google case, wherein it was held that that seeking of injunctive relief against willing licensees under the “unfair methods of competition” was violative of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

 

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