Intellectual Property specialists Bristows have achieved a groundbreaking win for IPCom in a telecoms patent action before the UK High Court.

IPCom was sued by Nokia in April 2010 for revocation of a patent relating to a mechanism for controlling access to the random access channel, a channel used by mobile devices when accessing the mobile telephone network. IPCom countersued for infringement of the patent in June 2010 by each of Nokia’s UMTS-enabled devices (UMTS is the mobile telephone standard under which the UK 3G network and UK 3G mobile devices operate). The trial was heard in April 2011, and judgment was handed down on the 16th June by the UK High Court. The Court upheld IPCom’s patent as valid and infringed (subject to a minor amendment to the exact form of its claims).

Bristows Partner Myles Jelf commented “This case is a substantial win for IPCom in its long running battle with Nokia, and is particularly significant in that it is the first case for some considerable time where a telecoms patent has been upheld as valid and infringed by the UK Courts.”

The case also carries significance as it demonstrates the increasing sophistication of litigation insurers prepared to consider even the most complex disputes. James Blick, of specialist litigation funding broker TheJudge, commented “This is clearly an excellent result for IPCOM, Bristows and IPCOM’s litigation insurer. Patent litigation is widely regarded as one of the more complex areas of law and it is therefore often wrongly assumed that the after the event insurance and litigation funding market is not geared up to cater for such cases. TheJudge has been working hard over the last 36 months to expand the available options for substantial intellectual property disputes and IPCOM is an excellent example of how litigation insurance can be used to hedge legal costs risks in substantial patent disputes. Cases such as IPCOM also demonstrate why it’s crucial that lawyers operating in specialist sectors fully advise clients about modern litigation insurance and financing solutions. We’ve already seen significant developments in sectors such as bilateral investment treaty arbitrations, competition and securities litigation and so it’s refreshing to be in a position to speak positively of the developments in the patent litigation insurance arena.”