International Policy Digest

Tech /14 Oct 2020
10.14.20

Are German Courts Protecting Deutsche Telekom?

Each year, American taxpayers spend billions of dollars on German aid. Why do Americans support all of these auxiliary actions? Americans have an innate sense of protection to defend a free democratic way of life: freedom of speech, property rights, and shared social values bind Americans as a nation. It is not singularly about Germany’s security or any other country receiving billions in U.S. aid. It is about a system of values, regulations, and mutually respected laws.

When we imagine the German cultural system as having strong values, there are several daunting events in their legal system that defy their perception of a strong democratic society with liberal values—for instance, German courts’ conspiring with massive corporations to withhold the rightful fees meant for hard-working Americans. During a time of mass confusion and the world focused on elections, and a global epidemic, are German companies unsuspectingly trying to influence court decisions?

America is a country of innovators and inventors, united by freedom of creativity and expression. American inventors have come up with some of the best and most innovative creations throughout history. What unites all of these people is an understanding and mutual respect for each other’s intellectual property rights.

Mundi Fomukong, an inventor from California and the founder of Enovsys LLC, with a background in aviation electronics from Cranfield College of Aeronautics in England, UK, created, with his co-inventor, a privacy platform used widely by telecommunication companies, only to be in a constant battle against corporations trying to find licensing loopholes.

Fomukong holds patents in the United States, Europe, Canada, China, Japan, and Singapore for his inventions, yet has spent almost a decade fighting to protect those rights. A recent verdict issued by the German Supreme Court reinforced the notion that German companies are getting around licensing international patents with the courts’ help. In a long-established patent culture, this prejudice raises the question of whether Germany has become a significant threat to foreign inventors, because if not the guarantee against plagiarism, what inspires creators to innovate?

In 2011, Enovsys sued Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s largest telecommunications company, for patent infringement against their location and privacy technology. To advance and shut down the case, German courts issued several meritless rulings in favor of one of Germany’s most influential companies. The courts’ disposition to continually absolve Deutsche Telekom of its responsibility was evident throughout a consistent formulation of never before mentioned arguments handed to Deutsche Telekom.

When reviewing the case docket of an earlier district court proceeding, Judge Retzer of the Higher Regional Court in Munich noted that Judge Peter Guntz dismissed Enovsys’ infringement claim stating that the patent “protects a method for secure transmissions of location data within a network for paging services…what the plaintiff is attacking, is not covered by the protection scope of the patent claims.” However, a later order by the German Supreme Court, presided by Dr. Meier-Beck, confirmed that the invention covered all the modalities for transmission of data. Despite the Meier-Beck Supreme Court order rendering Guntz’s non-infringement dismissal idle, Judge Retzer declined to reopen the infringement appeal proceeding.

During a patent court proceeding, Judge Friehe’s court concocted an argument on behalf of Deutsche Telekom, never argued in nine years of litigation, claiming that Enovsys’ patent in Germany was “obvious” and, therefore not enforceable. Despite this, a later decision by Judge Bacher’s Supreme Court set aside Friehe’s reasoning as legally flawed. However, Bacher’s court then proceeded to concoct another brand new meritless reason to absolve Deutsche Telekom from its responsibility once more.

The steadfast extent to which German courts consistently moved to protect Deutsche Telekom, when evidence was lacking, reaffirmed an extreme bias within the courts.

Deutsche Telekom, valued at over €170 billion, with more than ample resources to license Enovsys’ patent properly, chose to drag out court proceedings, against a small company with limited resources, for over nine years, using their influence to thwart justice at every turn. This massive corporation committed a great injustice towards an American inventor and set a precedent in Germany against future American and foreign inventors.

In a previous United States case between Enovsys and Sprint regarding an almost identical issue, the courts mandated Sprint to properly license Enovsys’ patent after losing in trial and failing to reverse the verdict at the U.S. Court of Appeals.

In an interview, Fomukong disappointedly pointed out how the U.S. government has shown great indifference, likely due to the upcoming elections; Enovsys reached out several times to patent enforcement officers within the White House, most recently within the last few weeks, to no avail or response. Additionally, several bills, including the Inventor Rights Act, meant to protect U.S. inventors’ rights, have been left pending without movement because of a deadlocked Congress. Hence, many inventors are left defenseless against large corporations, such as Deutsche Telekom, getting away with not paying any licensing fees to hardworking, taxpaying patentees.

The American government has indirectly allowed a massive foreign entity to get away with such a great injustice against an American citizen.