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VoiceAge victorious in nullity suits against HMD as battle enters final stage

Post Time:2024-01-29 Source:juve-patent Author:Mathieu Klos Views:

The battle between VoiceAge EVS and HMD is heating up after the German Federal Court of Justice upheld two important VoiceAge patents on speech-coding technology. Mannheim Regional Court had previously ordered HMD to cease and desist infringing the patents. Now the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe has the final say.

VoiceAge EVS continues to successfully enforce its patents in its ongoing dispute with HMD. The German Federal Court of Justice has upheld the company’s patentsEP 1 509 903andEP 2 162 880at the highest instance (case IDs: X ZR 11/22 and X ZR 14/22). Both patents belong to the speech-coding standard EVS, which VoiceAge played a key role in developing.

VoiceAge successful on invalidity

The Federal Court of Justice has now dismissed HMD’s appeals. The Federal Patent Court had previously upheld EP 903 and slightly restricted EP 880. Now, with the final confirmation of the validity of the two patents, the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court can continue the two infringement proceedings. The court had not suspended them in view of HMD’s nullity actions.

In 2021 and 2022, the Regional Court Mannheim had ordered HMD to cease and desist from infringing both patents, with HMD appealing against this decision to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court. The infringement action relating to EP 903 is now to be continued in April. However, following the patent’s expiry, the case only concerns damages for past infringement and not an injunction. The court has not yet scheduled the infringement appeal for EP 880.

Five injunctions, one suspension

In 2019, VoiceAge sued HMD over five patents in Mannheim and Munich, including EP 903 and EP 880. In 2021, Mannheim Regional Court also found that HMD had infringedEP 2 707 687. So far, VoiceAge has also had success in Munich. The city’s regional court ordered HMD to cease and desist infringement ofEP 3 132 443andEP 2 102 619.

HMD appealed against all judgments to the higher regional courts in Karlsruhe and Munich. Only the proceedings concerning EP 443 were temporarily suspended by the Munich Higher Regional Court. This was a glimmer of hope for HMD after the Federal Patent Court had declared this patent invalid. However, the court upheld the other four patents.

The Higher Regional Court Munich will also hear the appeal against EP 619 in April. It seems that this month could be decisive for HMD.