UK High Court grants Motorola Solutions injunction request to freeze Hytera assets, but Hytera says ‘business as usual’ in England and Wales
A High Court judge this month granted an injunction request from Motorola Solutions to freeze as much as $345.7 million in Hytera Communications assets located in England and Wales, but Hytera states that the ruling does not prevent it from conducting normal business within the United Kingdom.
Redacted text of the freezing injunction was made available to IWCE’s Urgent Communications this week. The United Kingdom (UK) ruling is separate from the pending injunction proceeding being conducted in U.S. federal court, although the $345.7 million asset value being protected in the UK represents the compensatory damages awarded by the U.S. court to Motorola Solutions earlier this year.
Final briefs in the U.S. case seeking a permanent injunction against Hytera Communications are due May 14, but it is not clear when the judge would issue a ruling on the matter. If granted, the injunction requested by Motorola Solutions would prevent Hytera Communications from selling most of its most popular DMR portable radios anywhere in the world.
Granted on April 9, the UK freezing injunction states that Hytera Communications and its subsidiaries—LMR vendor Sepura is among those listed—”must not remove from England and Wales or in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any of its assets which are in England and Wales up to the value of US $345,761,156,”
This ruling applies to all Hytera Communications assets in England and Wales, “whether or not they are in its own name, whether they are solely or jointly owned and whether the Respondent [Hytera] is interested in them legally, beneficially or otherwise. For the purpose of this order the Respondent’s assets include any asset which it has the power, directly or indirectly, to dispose of or deal with as if it were its own. The Respondent is to be regarded as having such power, if a third party holds or controls the asset in accordance with its direct or indirect instructions.”
While the UK injunction order states the ruling applies “all assets” owned by Hytera Communications, it only specifies stock shares held by Hytera Communications and “and money standing to the credit of any bank account” within England and Wales. The ruling does not mention Hytera Communications’ radio assets or services, in particular.
Hytera Communications issued a statement that the company will be able to conduct “business as usual” for its radio customers.
“This order does not impact the ability of Hytera or its subsidiaries to conduct their business in the ordinary course and will have no impact on the ability of Hytera and its subsidiaries to continue with their highly successful businesses,” according to a statement on Hytera Communications’ website.
“Hytera has continued to invest in the UK market to better serve local customers. Hytera has no intention of removing assets from the UK. It will be business as usual for Hytera’s subsidiaries in the UK, and Hytera will keep the tradition of excellence in supporting partners and serving customers in the market.”
Motorola Solutions applauded the freezing-injunction ruling in the UK.
“We are pleased that the High Court in London, England, has ruled in favor of Motorola Solutions and entered an order to freeze Hytera’s assets in the United Kingdom,” said Mark Hacker, general counsel and chief administrative officer, Motorola Solutions.
“Motorola Solutions will continue to hold Hytera accountable for its theft and infringement of our intellectual property in jurisdictions around the world. We are committed to protecting our technology, our customers and our industry—and to collecting the damages we are owed by Hytera for its illegal behavior.”
In February, a federal jury unanimously issued a verdict that Hytera Communications must pay $345.8 million in compensatory damages and $418.8 million in punitive damages to Motorola Solutions for stealing trade secrets and copyrighted software code in developing most of its DMR portable radios. This jury award was affirmed by Judge Charles Norgle in early March.
In addition to the financial award, Motorola Solutions is seeking a permanent injunction that would prevent Hytera from selling its most popular DMR digital portable radios anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, Hytera is requesting a new trial, stating that it was “denied a fair trial” in the three-month proceeding.
Hytera Communications also reiterated its plans to appeal the U.S. federal court decision to award damages to Motorola Solutions.
“Hytera is further prepared to appeal any adverse rulings in a process that may take two or more years,” according to the Hytera Communications statement. “Hytera has faith that the American justice system will provide a fair outcome for this trade secret and copyright dispute.”