Insights High Court issues long-awaited FRAND decision in InterDigital v Lenovo

On 16 March 2023, the High Court handed down its long-awaited, landmark decision in InterDigital Technology Corp. and ors v Lenovo Group Limited and ors [2023] EWHC 539 (Pat). Mr Justice Mellor’s is the first determination as to a ‘Fair Reasonable and Non Discriminatory’ or ‘FRAND’ royalty rate since the Supreme Court’s decision in Unwired Planet v Huawei [2020] UKSC 37 and generally follows the precedent set there.

In short, the dispute between InterDigital and Lenovo centres on the terms to which Lenovo should licence InterDigital’s portfolio of standard essential patents or ‘SEPs’ relating to 3G, 4G, and 5G technology. The proceedings were divided into multiple technical trials (intended to establish whether InterDigital was entitled to a FRAND determination) and the FRAND trial (intended to determine the appropriate royalty rate).

The court found that “by consistently seeking supra-FRAND rates, InterDigital did not act as a willing licensor” and that “for the most part, Lenovo did conduct themselves as a willing licensee.” Based on a comparable licence approach, the court set a royalty rate of $0.175 per cellular unit, totalling $138.7 million for royalties dating back to 2007 (i.e., beyond the standard limitations period for patent damages). This represents 35% of the royalty rate sought by InterDigital.

The full decision is available here. InterDigital has announced its intention to appeal.