Summary The Advocate General’s advisory Opinion in the Huawei v. ZTE FRAND Case (C-170/13) would, if followed by the full European Court of Justice (ECJ), usher in a significant shift in the playing field in German litigation on Standard essential patents (SEPs). Germany has been known as a plaintiff’s venue in patent cases for a long time. Not only do German courts practice the bifurcation of infringement and invalidity proceedings, they have usually also been rather reluctant to accept non-infringement related defenses against threatened injunctions. For cases involving SEPs, this structural preference of plaintiff’s interests may have come to a sudden end if the ECJ follows its Advocate General. The Advocate General states that before seeking an injunction, the SEP holder must
The Advocate General Wathelet states that before seeking an injunction, a standard-essential patent holder must inform an infringer that the latter needs a license (Huawei / ZTE)
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