Nokia’s (NOKIA.HE) fight with Daimler (DAIGn.DE) over patent license fees won backing in a German court on Tuesday after the judge said the automaker failed to make a serious attempt to solve the problem with the Finnish company.
The dispute highlights a wider battle between tech companies and the auto industry over royalties for technologies used in navigation systems, vehicle communications and self-driving cars.
The stakes are high for Nokia, which generates 1.4 billion euros ($ 1.67 billion) in license revenues each year.
The Mannheim court in Germany said that neither Daimler nor the other parties involved in the case were “seriously prepared or ready to enter into a license agreement” with Nokia on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).
The same court, however, ruled against Nokia in the first patent case in February. There are eight more lawsuits pending in German courts, with the third scheduled for September 5.
Following Tuesday’s judgment, the company may impose a sales ban on Daimler, but that would require it to file a € 7 billion bond as collateral to cover damages if the ban is lifted on appeal. , which makes such a decision unlikely.
Daimler said he did not understand how the court could come to this conclusion and that he would appeal.
Nokia said the court confirmed it had acted fairly in licensing its Cellular Standards Essential (SEP) patents and that Daimler was using Nokia technologies without permission.
“We hope that Daimler will now accept its obligations and obtain a license on fair terms,” Jenni Lukander, president of Nokia Technologies, said in a statement.
Continental (CONG.DE), which intervened in the case, criticized the judgment.
“It is precisely such a licensing deal that Continental has long requested from Nokia and is currently asking Nokia in a US court,” the company said in a statement.
The court also rejected a suggestion by the German Cartel Office that the case should be referred to Europe’s highest court in Luxembourg, saying it did not deem it appropriate.