Oppo and OnePlus have suspended smartphone sales in Germany. The two brands have lost a legal battle against Nokia. The Finnish equipment manufacturer accused the two subsidiaries of BBK Electronics of having illegally used its 4G / 5G technologies without paying for licenses. We take stock of the situation.
Oppo and OnePlus, two brands owned by the Chinese group BBK Electronicshave suspended their sales of smartphones and connected watches in Germany. The official German store of both brands is now almost completely empty.
On the Oppo site, there is no no more products for sale. The situation is similar on the OnePlus store. There are no more smartphones highlighted. Likewise, the smartwatches section is empty. On the other hand, you can always buy wireless headphones, like the Nord Buds, and accessories. For the time being, the smartphones and watches of the two brands are still available from German retailers.
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Oppo and OnePlus suspend smartphone sales in Germany
The withdrawal of Oppo and OnePlus from the German market follows a court decisionreport our colleagues from WinFuture. In mid-July, the Finnish equipment manufacturer Nokia won a legal battle against the two manufacturers. The group indeed accused Oppo and OnePlus of having illegally used its 4G / 5G technologies. The two brands have been in dispute with Nokia for several months.
According to Nokia, the two brands have no not paid the mandatory fees to be able to exploit its network technologies. Oppo and OnePlus smartphones were therefore sold illegally on the German market, without a license for the use of 4G/5G patents. Justice ruled in favor of Nokia twice. De facto, Oppo and OnePlus have been forced to withdraw their smartphones from sale in Germany.
” The Mannheim Regional Court has ruled for the second time, this time on the basis of a cellular standard essential patent, that Oppo uses Nokia’s patented technologies in its smartphones and sells them illegally without a license “says Nokia in a press release relayed by the site NokiaPowerUser.
For the record, Oppo had reached an agreement with Nokia in 2018. The Chinese brand had agreed to pay the taxes related to the use of patents. The tax would be €1.50 per device. Unfortunately, this agreement expired last year. The Finnish group failed to renegotiate a new deal with the brands. In response, Nokia launched legal proceedings in several countries in Europe and Asia.
“The court also found that Nokia acted fairly. Despite lengthy negotiations, Oppo refused to agree to a license on fair terms and rejected proposals to arbitrate the disagreement”underlines the network equipment supplier.
Other brands owned by BBK, such as Live and Realmeare also in Nokia’s sights. The firm filed similar complaints against both brands. At the same time, Nokia has signed licensing agreements, valid for several years, with many smartphone brands, such as Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple and Lenovo.
No ban in France
In theory, the issue of unpaid patents concerns all OnePlus and Oppo smartphones sold worldwide. Concretely, it would suffice thata court having jurisdiction in another country is modeled on German justice so that smartphones are banned elsewhere.
The decision of the Mannheim court could serve as an example for other courts. Besides, similar complaints have been filed by Nokia in several other regions in 2021. Last summer, the Finnish company regretted that Oppo rejected several ” fair and reasonable offers”.
For now, however, the ban remains limited to Germany. Contacted by us, the French subsidiary of Oppo wants to be reassuring.
“This situation only concerns Germany. Other markets are not affected. The injunction is limited to a temporary suspension of sales and marketing of the affected products through channels owned by OPPO, in Germany”reassures Oppo France.
Oppo also points to Nokia’s position. The Chinese brand believes that the telecommunications specialist has shown itself very quick to take legal action against him.
” As the owner of numerous 5G patents, OPPO values the role of intellectual property in innovation. We are accustomed to establishing cross-licensing agreements with many leading companies and are committed to promoting a healthy intellectual property ecosystem. The day after OPPO and Nokia’s 4G contract expired, Nokia immediately took legal action after demanding unreasonably high renewal fees »regret the Chinese brand.
Unsurprisingly, Oppo is committed to doing everything possible to return to Germany a.s.a.p. In the meantime, the brand’s terminals will continue to operate without the slightest problem. Oppo says it is still able to deploy Android updates on smartphones in circulation on German territory.
” Our long-term commitment to the German market remains the same and we are working proactively with affected parties to resolve the ongoing issue. Apart from the temporary suspension of sales and marketing of affected products through OPPO-owned channels, OPPO will continue to operate in Germany. During this time, users can continue to use OPPO products, access after-sales services, receive future OS updates, and more. »details Oppo.