Sierra Wireless files complaints about Nokia's patent licensing

Sierra Wireless wants the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to sanction Nokia

Canadian wireless modem maker Sierra Wireless has filed complaints with the European Commission (EC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming that Nokia is behaving unfairly in patent licensing.

For its part, Nokia claims that Sierra Wireless has been in breach of its existing license terms for years.

Nokia is abusing its position as the holder of 3G and GSM (2G) standard essential patents (SEPs), said Sierra Wireless in a news release.

Standard essential patents are patents that are deemed essential to implementations of industry standards. Companies are usually required by standards bodies to license those patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. What exactly is a fair and reasonable licensing price is often a point of dispute between companies.

In the complaint filed with the Commission, Sierra Wireless alleges that Nokia applies widely different, and therefore unfair, royalty rates for the same SEPs to make identical GSM wireless modules, the company said. Nokia also imposes unfavorable and unreasonable royalty terms that put Sierra Wireless at a competitive disadvantage, it said.

The company has been seeking a mutually acceptable resolution of the royalty rate issues and a license to use Nokias 3G SEPs, but got no clear response from Nokia, prompting its EC complaint, it said. Sierra Wireless believes that Nokia is in breach of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and requirements set by the European Technology Standards Institute (ETSI).

The company wants the EC to investigate and require Nokia to reveal the pricing for 2G and 3G SEP licenses with other licensees, end the breaches outlined in the complaint, sanction Nokia, and require these patent licenses to be granted on FRAND terms, it said.

In addition, the FTC was notified of the complaint and asked to open an investigation into the alleged breach of FRAND rules and U.S. laws on fair trade and monopoly practices by Nokia. Sierra Wireless also asked ETSI to investigate Nokia for its alleged FRAND behavior breach.

The EC has received the complaint and is looking at it, a Commission official said in an email.

Nokia said in an emailed statement that Sierra Wireless has been in breach of its existing license terms with Nokia for several years.

"Despite many years of good faith attempts by Nokia to resolve the disagreements, Sierra has failed to pay Nokia the royalties which Sierra owes under the license," , Nokia spokeswoman Nina Ratavaara said. She called the complaints frivolous.

"As Sierra is now pursuing these abusive tactics, seeking to continue to use Nokias innovations without paying the agreed royalties, Nokia will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our intellectual property, our rights and our reputation," she added.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags U.S. Federal Trade Commissionintellectual propertySierra Wirelesseuropean commissionpatentNokialegal

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?