The Competition Commission has petitioned Delhi High Court challenging a single judge verdict setting aside its order to investigate alleged contravention of provisions of the Competition Act by Swedish firm M/s Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, with the court seeking the telecom company’s response.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also issued notice to Mumbai-based M/s Best IT World (India) Pvt Ltd which had alleged before Competition Commission of India (CCI) that Ericsson was abusing its dominant position, seeking its response by November 7.
The Mumbai-based IT company, which makes electronic goods under the brand name iBall, had requested the CCI to probe alleged discriminatory practices of Ericsson regarding charging of royalty for using its patented technology.
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It had claimed that royalty rate being charged by Ericsson had no linkage to the functionality of the patented product, but linked to the final price of manufactured product in which the patent is being used.
iBall had claimed that Ericsson had refused to identify the standard essential patents (SEPs) which were purportedly infringed by it. It was also threatened by patent infringement proceedings.
In its May 12, 2015 order, CCI had directed its Director General to conduct investigation in the matter while observing that prima facie Ericsson appeared to be dominant in the market as it had 33,000 patents to its credit and was the largest holder of SEPs used in mobile communications.
Ericsson had challenged CCI’s order before a single judge who set aside the commission’s order on the ground that there was a compromise between iBall and Ericsson and the Indian firm was not interested in pursuing its case before the CCI.
Ericsson had contended before the single judge that CCI did not have the jurisdiction to examine the matter under the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 and the jurisdiction laid exclusively with civil courts and authorities under the Patents Act 1970.
The commission moved the division bench challenging the December 14 last year verdict by the single judge claiming it was “highly erroneous and legally untenable” as the court had itself admitted in its order that CCI’s May 12 order cannot be set aside on merit.