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English court wont hear SanDisk MP3 patent case

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Mar 2007 6:32 User comments (2)

English court wont hear SanDisk MP3 patent case SanDisk has failed to take on a number of companies holding MP3 technology-related patents in an English court. The High Court said that SanDisk's claims were outside the jurisdiction of the court, which extends to England and Wales. Philips, France Telecom, TDF, and Institut Fr Rundfunktechnik were accused of bullying and harassing SanDisk through legal systems.
Each owns patents relating to MP3 technology, and SanDisk claims that they were abusing their dominant position in the licensing terms they offered for their patents. However, Justice Pumfrey said that the High Court did not have the jurisdiction on any of the issues, and that SanDisk needed to take action in a number of European countries instead.

The dispute between SanDisk and the patent holders involved an incident at a German trade show where the Berlin Public Prosecutor raided SanDisk's exhibition stand and seized 37 MP3 players. This was after SanDisk refused to buy a license form a company called Sisvel, a fifth defendant, an Italian licensing company representing the other four firms.

Sisvel has also obtained seizures in Italy and Border Detention Orders across Europe, which stop the transfer of the devices for sale at the border into the EU. SanDisk accused the companies of foul play in many actions, including tying the licensing of essential MP3 patents to deals for non-essential patents, abusing the patents system to acquire a collective dominant market position, demanding excessive royalties and refusing to deal individually with SanDisk.

"The patent holders' lawyer submits that in order for the English court to possess the exceptional jurisdiction pursuant to Article 5(3) of the Brussels Regulation to adjudicate upon the alleged abuses of a dominant position in the present case, I must be satisfied that either the event setting the tort in motion was in England and Wales or, alternatively, that the claimant must show that it is the immediate victim of that abuse suffering direct harm in England and Wales," said Justice Pumfrey.

He added: "In my judgment this submission is entirely justified. On the assumption that it is legitimate to consider the damage arising in these unusual circumstances to arise from any general inhibition on trade within England and Wales caused by the fact that SanDisk does not enjoy a lawful license, I cannot see where the damage accrues other than to SanDisk in Delaware."

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2 user comments

112.3.2007 16:33

What a load of mombo jombo.

222.3.2007 05:18

i'd hate to be a lawyer when it comes to things like this. how the hell do they know wot they are talkin about since this type of law is a huge grey are and how to find out which laws ( if any are applicable ) have been broken and who is at fault. i'd be like sorry im off down the pub find someone else.

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