Sonion successful in patent litigation against Huawei and Sony
On 21 June 2022, the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court awarded the Danish company Sonion a preliminary injunction against the sale of a number of earphones marketed by the world-wide electronics firms Sony and Huawei. Plesner represented Sonion during the legal proceedings.
The case concerned the protection of some of Sonion’s patent and utility model rights for a so-called bone conduction VPU used as a component in a number of earphones marketed by Sony and Huawei.
The primary issues of the case were whether
- Sonion’s claims were sufficiently clear to be able to form the basis of a preliminary injunction;
- Sonion’s patent and utility model rights were valid; and
- Sony and Huawei’s products infringed Sonion’s rights.
Preliminary injunction granted
In two rulings of 21 June 2022, the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court decided that preliminary injunctions were to be issued against the marketing and sale of earphones marketed by Sony and Huawei in Denmark.
The preliminary injunctions are based on two Danish utility models and a European patent belonging to Sonion. As for two of the rights, Huawei and Sony claimed that Sonion was not entitled to obtain a preliminary injunction based on enforcement of claim 1 in combination with claims 2 and 3. The Court, however, dismissed this claim and upheld Sonion’s claim that injunctions could be issued on the basis of a dependent claim (claim 1 in combination with claims 2 and 3).
As for the validity of Sonion’s rights, Sony and Huawei submitted that the rights lacked basis, novelty as well as inventive step for both the patent and the utility models. However, the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court found that Sony and Huawei had not established that Sonion’s rights were invalid.
Finally, the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court found that Sonion had rendered it probable that Sonion’s rights had been infringed.
On this background, the Court issued an injunction against Huawei and Sony’s marketing of the infringing products.
The decision is interesting because it establishes, among other things, that preliminary injunctions may be issued on the basis of a dependent claim, and the case also concerns several interesting issues, e.g. the standard for the inventive steps with respect to utility models, the wording of claims in cases concerning preliminary injunctions and orders and the legal capacity for European Patent Attorneys when acting as expert witnesses.
It is not known at this time whether the ruling will be appealed.
Plesner’s team consisted of Mikkel Vittrup, Peter-Ulrik Plesner and Jakob Dolmer.
Sonion was also advised by Inspicos.
Read the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court's decision of 21 June 2022 in the case against Huawei and Power (in Danish)
Read the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court's decision of 21 June 2022 against Sony (in Danish)