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Huawei and AVM settle Wifi 6 dispute shortly before Munich hearing

Post Time:2024-04-19 Source:juve-patent Author:Mathieu Klos Views:

The Munich Regional Court should have heard the third of five lawsuits filed by Huawei against FritzBox manufacturer AVM this week. However, shortly before yesterday's hearing, both companies apparently settled their dispute over Wifi 6 technology.

AVM, the manufacturer of a wifi router known as FritzBox, has reached a settlement with Huawei. According to the latter company, Huawei has withdrawn all five patent infringement lawsuits against AVM that it filed with the Munich Regional Court between 2022 and 2024.

Both companies confirmed an agreement in the dispute at the request of JUVE Patent. However, neither Huawei nor AVM provided any precise details. The development suggests that AVM has concluded a licence agreement with the Chinese mobile communications giant.

The lawsuits against AVM were part of a large-scale campaign, whereby Huawei has tried to enforce its Wifi 6 patents against several users since 2022. In addition to FrtizBox manufacturer AVM, this included Amazon, Netgear and car manufacturer, Stellantis. The Netherlands-based company manufactures about six million cars a year under the Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and Citroën brands.

Huawei ramps up the pressure

In late 2022, Huawei filed two lawsuits against AVM with the Munich Regional Court over EP 3 337 077 (case ID: 21 O 2576/22) and EP 3 241 300 (case ID: 7 O 2578/22). Then, in March 2023, the 7th Civil Chamber of the Munich Regional Court under presiding judge Oliver Schön dismissed Huawei’s claim regarding infringement of EP 300. Huawei appealed to the Munich Higher Regional Court.

Last November, the 21st Civil Chamber of the same court under presiding judge Georg Werner upheld Huawei’s claim regarding EP 077 and ordered an injunction. AVM appealed against this to the Munich Higher Regional Court.

Although the pressure on AVM was already high after the ruling, Huawei followed up with more infringement claims based on two further patents. In March 2024 Huawei ramped up a gear, launching a fifth lawsuit including a preliminary injunction after it accused AVM of infringing EP 3 334 112 (case ID: 7 O 2991/24 and 7 O 2218/24).

In December 2023, the Munich Regional Court had ordered an injunction against wifi routers manufactured by Amazon and Eero that were based on EP 112. Huawei directly enforced the ruling.

Meanwhile, AVM filed a nullity suit against four patents at the German Federal Patent Court. There was not enough time before the settlement for a fifth nullity action against EP 112.

Last one standing

AVM and Huawei did not comment on the reasons behind the surprising settlement. However, the Munich Regional Court would have heard Huawei’s action for infringement of EP 3 657 749 this Wednesday (case ID: 21 O 5097/23), had it gone ahead.

Stellantis and Amazon had previously reached a settlement with Huawei in the Wifi 6 dispute, meaning Netgear remains as the only one of four companies originally sued.

Two lawsuits are pending at Düsseldorf’s regional court and the higher regional court, respectively.

In addition, Huawei increased the pressure on Netgear with two UPC lawsuits (ACT_18917/2023 and ACT_459771/2023) over EP 3 678 321 and EP 3 611 989. The Munich local division will hear the case on the latter patent on 18 and 19 June. This is likely to be one of the UPC’s first hearings on a main action, and one of its first hearings over an SEP.