Sierra Wireless goes to the European Commission with Nokia complaint


Sierra Wireless has accused Nokia of anti-competitive behaviour in an official complaint to the European Commission (EC).

The company has also submitted a request for a formal investigation to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The EC complaint claimed Nokia is discriminating against Sierra Wireless and abusing its dominant position as a GSM and 3G standard essential patent (SEP) holder.

The wireless company has alleged that Nokia applies widely different, and therefore unfair, royalty rates for the same SEPs to make identical GSM wireless modules.

It also accused Nokia of imposing unfavorable and unreasonable royalty terms that put others at a competitive disadvantage, and refusing to license 3G SEPs for wireless modules in spite of its “clear obligation” and repeated requests from Sierra Wireless to do so.

According to the company, Nokia is in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and of its obligation to grant SEP licenses on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND) as required by the European Technology Standards Institute (ETSI).

Sierra Wireless revealed it has been seeking a mutually acceptable resolution of the issues, but, with no “clear response” from Nokia, decided the complaints were necessary.

As well as its request to the FTC to open an investigation into Nokia’s apparent breach of FRAND rules and US laws on fair trade and monopoly practices, Sierra has also requested the ETSI to investigate Nokia’s behaviour in breaching its commitment to the FRAND rule with another ETSI member. 

Pierre Cosnier, Senior Director, Legal Affairs for Sierra Wireless said: “We are acting to protect our customers and ourselves from the unreasonable actions of some standard essential patent holders, which result in unresolved patent license disagreements that we want to remedy on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.”

Sierra Wireless has urged the EC to force Nokia to reveal the pricing for 2G and 3G SEP licenses with other licensees, end the breaches outlined in the complaint, sanction Nokia, and require these patent licenses to be granted on FRAND terms.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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