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China’s Supreme Court Confirms Jurisdiction over SEP Global Rates

Tue, 09 Nov 2021
Categories: China Legal Trends

On 19 Aug. 2021, the Intellectual Property Court of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) rendered the final ruling of jurisdiction challenge over standard essential patent (SEP) licensing disputes in Sharp Corp. v. Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Co., Ltd. ((2020) Zui Gao Fa Zhi Min Xia Zhong No. 517) ((2020)最高法知民辖终517号), upholding the trial ruling and dismissing Sharp’s appeal requests.

This is the first time that China’s top court has clarified the jurisdictional rules for global licensing conditions of SEPs.

In the said ruling, the Intellectual Property Tribunal of SPC adopted the “proper connection” criterion to determine the jurisdiction over SEP licensing disputes, which requires comprehensive consideration of their characteristics.

Whether a SEP licensing dispute has a proper connection with China is related to the place where the patent is authorized, the place where the patent is implemented, the place where the patent license agreement is signed or patent license is negotiated, the place where the patent license agreement is performed, or place of property that can be seized or enforced. As long as one of the aforementioned locations is within China, the case should be deemed to have an appropriate connection with China, and thus Chinese courts have jurisdiction over the case.

In addition, SEP licensing disputes share characteristics of both contract disputes and patent infringement disputes. In the absence of any license agreement between the parties, the place where the patent license agreement is signed or performed could not serve as the connecting factor for jurisdictional basis in this case. As the court where the SEP involved in this case was implemented, Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court of Guangdong Province, the trial court, could exercise jurisdiction over the case.



Cover Photo by Night Glow on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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