IP Arbitration Hailed as Hallmark of Constructive Resolution

January 2016

An International Chamber of Commerce tribunal award is being hailed as a model of constructive resolution of a licensing dispute.  The award set the royalty amount Williams & Connolly client Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest manufacturer of cellular handsets, will pay to extend a patent license agreement with Nokia through 2018.

In recent years, regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition have urged large, sophisticated parties to resolve substantial patent royalty disputes through binding arbitration, and this is one of the first major cases in which both parties committed to do so.

The matter concerned the value of Samsung’s agreement to license Nokia’s patents following the sale of Nokia’s mobile device business to Microsoft in 2014.   While the specific terms of the award are confidential, it concludes proceedings that began in 2013 and culminated in a two-week hearing in 2015. 

John Buckley, Co-Chair of Williams & Connolly’s International Arbitration practice, and Kevin Hardy, a leader in the firm’s electronics Patent Litigation practice, led the ICC arbitration on behalf of Samsung. Bruce Genderson, Jon Landy, Lane Heard, Ted Bennett, Greg Bowman, Stan Fisher, Sam Davidoff, C.J. Mahoney and Kennon Poteat also played significant roles on the team.

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