China’s Patent Office Makes Final Decision and Completely Revokes the CommScope’s Antenna Patent
(8 February 2013, Hong Kong) Comba Telecom Systems Holdings Limited (“Comba Telecom” or “the Group”, Hong Kong stock code: 2342), a leading global wireless enhancement solutions provider, has won an antenna patent lawsuit against Carlyle Group subsidiary CommScope, Inc., (“CommScope”) where the patent was irreversibly cancelled in China.
In the legal action by Comba Telecom against CommScope and its subsidiary Andrew LLC (“Andrew”) to invalidate the antenna-related patents in China, the Beijing High People’s Court and the Patent Reexamination Office of the State Intellectual Property Office (“Patent Reexamination Office”) revoked the patent on remote electrical tilt (RET) technology used in base station antennas as asserted by Andrew in the litigation. The ruling by the Patent Reexamination Office was final and conclusive, and CommScope no longer has any avenues to appeal.
The ruling echoes similar cases against CommScope and Andrew: other antenna vendors have successfully applied for the cancellation of Andrew’s RET patents in Europe where Andrew’s appeal was rejected and the patents finally revoked by the European Patent Office in November 2011.
RET systems is a core technology that enables operators to control the antenna beam. While phase shifters are a component of the RET system, there are many different technological designs and Comba Telecom has long deployed its own proprietary phase shifter technologies. It holds at least 10 granted phase shifter patents and multiple pending patents around the world including China, USA, Brazil and Europe. These technologies are the results of intensive R&D programs in which the Group invests considerable resources and effort in order to maintain its competitive edge.
In response to CommScope’s statement on 4 February 2013, Comba Telecom takes the position that CommScope’s patent infringement case on phase shifter technology is without merit and has appealed the court decision and the decision has not become effective yet and the litigation process is still ongoing. Furthermore, based on the relative small amount of the damages, the Group does not consider that there will be any material implications on the Group in respect of such litigation and court decision.
Mr. Tony TL Fok, Chairman of Comba Telecom, said, “The litigation by CommScope with respect to phase shifters focused on two models of antenna only for China that was discontinued some time ago due to natural evolution and development of technology. While the effect of this is minimal on our portfolio of antenna offerings, the Group will nonetheless continue to pursue this matter through the courts. We have a strong respect for intellectual property rights and will take steps to defend and uphold our rights.”