Oppo and OnePlus have stopped selling their phones in Germany and may face similar issues in other EU countries
Over the years, patents and licensing fees have been at the crux of significant disputes between tech companies. The Sonos-Google battle is the perfect example of this. Certain features in Nest and Home speakers violated Sonos’ patents. When the latter sued Google for licensing money, it removed the related functionality altogether. Similarly, Oppo and OnePlus have now been forced to pull their phones from Germany after losing an appeal against a patent infringement lawsuit from Nokia, the networking giant, and there might be more markets to come.
The patent dispute between Nokia and Oppo relates to 4G technology and has been going on for several years. In early July, the Mannheim district court passed an order in favor of Nokia (via WinFuture) and ordered the two parties to reach a settlement, failing which a sales ban would be imposed on Oppo’s phones. Both companies seemingly failed to settle the matter, leading the Munich 1 Regional Court to impose a sales ban on Oppo and OnePlus smartphones in the country from August 5.
When we reached out to Oppo, a spokesperson stated that the issue stems from a 4G cross-licensing agreement with Nokia, with the Finnish giant seeking an unreasonably high renewal licensing fee and going to court a day after the agreement expired.
Oppo has removed all mentions of its smartphones and associated product listings from its German website. It has put up a statement, though, confirming that existing Oppo users can continue to use their devices without any issues.
Q: Can I continue to use OPPO products without restrictions, access support and receive future updates?
A: Yes, you can continue to use your OPPO products without restrictions, access support and of course you will also receive all future updates.
Additionally, the company confirmed to Wirtschaftswoche that it is not exiting the German market completely. It will continue to sell other products like headphones and related accessories in the country. OnePlus’s German store also no longer mentions its product lineup. You might be able to buy Oppo and OnePlus smartphones from third-party shops and retailers like Amazon for the time being, but that’s only as long as stock lasts.
Oppo confirmed to us that it is working with all the involved parties to resolve the matter. The company is estimated to have a 10% share in the German smartphone market and ships around two million smartphones annually in the region.
Oppo and OnePlus would reportedly (via WinFuture) have to pay €2.50 per smartphone sold as licensing fees. The issue is the parties would have to enter into a worldwide licensing deal to adhere to the German laws. They would have to pay licensing fees on smartphones sold worldwide, not just in Germany. This would be an expensive affair, and Oppo/OnePlus might prefer to exit the German smartphone market altogether instead.
Apart from Germany, Nokia has sued Oppo, OnePlus, and other BBK-owned companies like Realme and Vivo in France, Finland, Sweden, Spain, the UK, and the Netherlands over the patent dispute. If the court rules in the Finnish giant’s favor, it could end up securing a sales ban on all BBK-owned phones across major European countries.
Ironically enough, some HMD-manufactured Nokia phones are no longer on sale in Germany after a similar patent dispute surrounding VoLTE functionality.