Case details

Unwired Planet International Ltd and another (Respondents) v Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd and another (Appellants)

Case ID: UKSC 2018/0214

Case summary

  1. Is it appropriate for an English court to enforce FRAND terms by reference to a global portfolio of SEPs?
  2. Does the CJEU’s Huawei v ZTE decision identify no more than a "safe harbour" within which a SEP owner would not abuse a dominant position?
  3. Is the non-discrimination limb of the FRAND undertaking to be interpreted in such a way that it is breached if the licensee’s competitor receives better terms?
  4. If the answer to Issue (1) is "Yes", is England the proper forum for a determination of FRAND terms by reference to a global portfolio of SEPs?

The cases concern a number of so-called Standard Essential Patents ("SEPs") held by the Respondents in both sets of proceedings, who commenced proceedings against the respective Appellants for infringing them. The Respondents are under an obligation to make available SEPs on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms ("FRAND") terms.

In Unwired, it was held at first instance that Unwired owned two valid SEPs, and Unwired obtained an injunction against Huawei for the latter’s infringement of the SEPs. Huawei, with the permission of the first-instance judge, appealed to the Court of Appeal on three grounds, namely Issues (1), (2) and (3). Their appeal was dismissed. Huawei now appeals to the Supreme Court on the same grounds.

The proceedings in Conversant were brought after the High Court judgment was handed down in Unwired. Issue (i) also arises in that appeal, but the Appellants in that case also argue that, even if the English court does have jurisdiction, England is not the proper forum as against the defendants domiciled in the jurisdiction and even less so against those who are not so domiciled, and so the English court should not exercise it.

Judgment appealed

[2018] EWCA Civ 2344


  1. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd
  2. Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd
  1. Unwired Planet International Ltd
  2. Unwired Planet LLC



Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Briggs, Lord Sumption

Hearing start date

21 Oct 2019

Hearing finish date

24 Oct2019