source: brunner communications
The District Court of Düsseldorf held in its rulings of 5 December and 12 December 2013 that three of the five patents which had been asserted by the insolvency administrator of Qimonda AG, Dr Michael Jaffé from JAFFÉ Rechtsanwälte Insolvenzverwalter, have been used by Hewlett-Packard GmbH. In two cases, the computer manufacturer was served with an injunction and ordered to render account and pay damages for the established infringement, whereas proceedings in the other case were temporarily suspended in order to resolve open questions regarding patent exhaustion. The remaining two cases were dismissed due to a lack of patent use. The rulings can be appealed.
In the two proceedings now ruled in favour of the insolvency administrator, Dr Jaffé had asserted apparatus claims and method claims which relate to complex devices requiring not only the use of DRAM components but also units such as processors. Infringing products are computers which Hewlett-Packard GmbH is selling in Germany. The District Court in Düsseldorf confirmed that licence agreements of its suppliers which had been concluded prior to opening of the insolvency proceedings and upon which Hewlett-Packard tried to rely, do not justify licence rights with respect to the computers in dispute. The court did not need to address the question as to whether non-exclusive licences survive in case of insolvency. The enforceability of licence agreements in light of the insolvency of Qimonda AG is the subject of separate court proceedings in Germany and the U.S., as among others with Infineon Technologies AG.
Hewlett-Packard GmbH has filed nullity actions with the German Federal Patent Court for the patents in dispute. No rulings have as yet been issued. The Düsseldorf District Court did not see any cause to suspend the above patent infringement proceedings in view of the validity proceedings.
The patent portfolio of Qimonda AG comprises more than 7,500 patents and patent applications worldwide, which relate to inventions relevant to the semiconductor, computer and telecommunication industries. The insolvency administrator is successfully licensing the portfolio to technology companies since several years. In parallel, a process to sell the company’s patent portfolio is ongoing.