Patent Troll Update: Brazil

As an update to our postings on Patent Trolls: A Global Perspective, Patent Troll Update: Japan and Patent Trolls: A View from Europe, we have learned of recent patent troll activity in Brazil.

As originally reported by NASDAQ®, on April 14, 2014, Vringo Infrastructure, Inc. (Vringo) filed a lawsuit against ZTE Corporation and ZTE Brazil (ZTE) in the 5th Business Court of Rio de Janeiro (Court) alleging patent infringement of Brazilian Patent No. PI0013975-0 (‘975 patent). The ‘975 patent issued on August 27, 2013 and covers an operation called “relocation,” an essential part of the handover performed by equipment referred to as a “network control” used in the 3rd and 4th generations of mobile phone (known as 3G and 4G networks). On April 15, 2014, the Court granted a preliminary injunction restraining ZTE from manufacturing, using, offering for sale, selling, installing, testing or importing the infrastructure of 3G and 4G networks without Vringo’s authorization under penalty of a daily fine of R$20,000 (US$9010). Furthermore, on April 17, 2014, Vringo posted a bond of R$2,000,000 (US$901,000) with the Court to enforce the injunction.

On May 9, 2014, ZTE filed an interlocutory appeal. On May 26, 2014, the Court denied ZTE’s request for a stay of the injunction pending the interlocutory appeal hearing. On June 11, 2014, the 4th Civil Panel of Rio de Janeiro State Justice Court unanimously denied the appeal. As a result of this denial, the injunction will likely remain in place until a decision of the merits has been reached. Presently, a trial date has not yet been scheduled and a final decision could take anywhere from two to four years.

This is not ZTE’s first encounter in court with Vringo. In fact, in addition to Brazil, Vringo has sued ZTE for patent infringement in at least Great Britain, Germany, France, Australia, Spain, India and the Netherlands.

Please continue to watch the BRIC Wall for further updates on global patent troll activity. 

This post was written by Lisa Mueller of Michael, Best & Friedrich.

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