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The E.U. acts towards China to defend European patents at the WTO

Updated: May 3, 2022

In August 2020, the Supreme People's Court of China issued an order allowing Chinese courts to ban SEP patent holders from going to a non-Chinese court to enforce compliance with their patents by Chinese manufacturers by issuing an anti-suit. injunction. The same Court also ruled that the violation of the order can be punished with a daily fine of 130,000 euros. Since the entry into force of this ordinance, the Chinese courts have issued 4 anti-suit injunctions against foreign patent holders in the cases: ZTE v Conversant, Xiaomi v InterDigital, Oppo v Sharp and Samsung v Ericsson.

The EU, believing that these Chinese measures are incompatible with the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), in February 2022 requested consultations with the WTO to resolve the matter. If no agreement is found within 60 days, the EU can then ask the WTO to set up a panel to decide on the issue.

The disputed patents are essential patents (SEPs), which are indispensable for manufacturing products that must conform to a specific international technical standard.

The holders of these patents must license them to manufacturers on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms by negotiating the relevant license fees (FRAND). If a manufacturer does not obtain a license and / or does not pay the license fee, the owner of the patent can demand compliance with his patent and have the sales of products incorporating that technology without a regular license stopped.

Click here to download the request for consultation filed by the EU to the OMC

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The content of this article does not constitute legal advice, but has an informative function. For tailor made legal advice, contact the firm by e-mail to: or by phone +39 06 916505710. © Dong & Partners International Law Firm, All rights reserved.

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