On November 14, 2017, the patent infringement case with the company IWNCOMM(“西电捷通”in Chinese, read as Xi Dian Jie Tong, hereinafter referred to as IWNCOMM)sued Apple Inc. was heard in public by Shanxi Provincial High People's Court. IWNCOMM held that Apple Inc. used a patent that IWNCOMM owned in its series of products of iPhone 6, iPhone 7, iPad tablet computer and other products, and claimed RMB 150 million for damages based on the actual sales volume of the allegedly infringing products of Apple Inc. 

In April 2016, IWNCOMM sued Apple Computer Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. etc. to Shanxi Provincial High People's Court for patent infringement on its patent named "a method of safe access of mobile device and data security communication in WLAN " (patent No. 02139508.X). The patent at issue is a core patent in the WLAN security technology WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure) developed and launched by IWNCOMM. At present, the global WLAN has formed a relatively unified technical architecture, but security technology can be divided into two development routes: one is the US led IEEE 802.11i standard, and the other is China led WAPI standard (WAPI technology was adopted by the national standard in 2003). The WLAN formed on the basis of the above technology routes are known as Wi-Fi network and WAPI network respectively in the industry. The patent at issue is one of the essential patents adopted by the WAPI standard.

During the court hearing, the plaintiff side pointed out that in 2010, Apple Inc. signed a patent licensing agreement with IWNCOMM. In accordance with the FRAND principle (“Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory”), the two sides made clear the patent licensing fees for the period of 5 years from 2010 to 2014. The contract expired by the end of 2014, and after negotiation with the Apple side which lasted 16 months without any substantial progress, IWNCOMM filed the patent infringement lawsuit.

During the process of the court hearing, the focus of the dispute was: whether the patent at issue is a SEP (Standard Essential Patent); whether infringement was constituted, whether and how the infringement act was committed; if infringement is found, how should the liability be borne. Then the two parties carried out the proof and statement of opinions through expert assistant testimony and other ways on whether the patent at issue is a SEP and whether the defendant infringed or not. Finally, after the hearing of 2.5 hours, the presiding judge announced the end of the trial and time for the next hearing to be notified.

Soon after IWNCOMM sued Apple Inc. for patent infringement in April 2016, the latter filed an invalidation request against IWNCOMM’s patent at issue. On February 20, 2017, the Patent Reexamination Board made a decision to reject all the invalidation requests of Apple Inc. and maintained the validity of the patent at issue. The Apple side was not satisfied with the result and filed a lawsuit to Beijing Intellectual Property Court. The case is now under further trial. After filing the patent invalidation request, the Apple side continued to launch a lawsuit for "patent royalty fees" as well as a lawsuit for "abuse of dominant market position" against IWNCOMM.

In June 2015, IWNCOMM filed patent infringement litigation against SONY Mobile Communication Products (China) Limited for infringement on the same patent at issue, and won the first instance on March 22, 2017. Subsequently, the SONY side appealed.

 (Adapted from the website of China Intellectual Property Protection)

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