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STOP PRESS: Supreme Court gives long awaited ruling in landmark Unwired Planet v Huawei patent case

This morning the UK Supreme Court gave its long awaited ruling in the landmark Unwired Planet v Huawei case, a decision which is likely to have far reaching consequences for the international telecommunications industry.

This case and those of Huawei v Conversant and ZTE v Conversant (which were joined with it) concern infringement of UK patents said to be essential to the implementation of international standards for mobile telephony. (These are called Standard Essential Patents or SEPs.) The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the appeals of the defendants and upheld the decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal in favour of the patentees.

We will provide a full analysis of the Supreme Court's ruling shortly, but the key essence of the decision is that the court has agreed that English courts have jurisdiction to determine the terms of a global licence of a multi-national patent portfolio. This does not affect questions as to the validity and infringement of a national patent which fall to be determined by the courts of the country which has granted the patent. The court also provided much needed guidance on other issues in dispute, including on the terms of the SEP licences. (See the Supreme Court's judgment and press release.)

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