Although Nokia may not be the leader in the smartphone arena, the tech manufacturer has won a number of patent cases this past year that has put them in the spotlight and helped them achieve substantial settlements of money and recognition. The latest company to fall victim to Nokia’s patent-infringement claims is InterDigital Inc., who fell to its lowest profits in over a year after losing a case to Nokia and Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, two of China’s largest phone-networking equipment makers.
The claims against InterDigital involved a series of Nokia’s Lumia phones, Huawei’s MediaPad 7 Lite and Fiji, and ZTE’s Flash and Merit models, which risked being banned from the U.S. market completely, had InterDigital won the suit.
The case took an interesting turn when Chinese regulators threatened to arrest anyone who showed up for a recent meeting to discuss Huawei’s antitrust complaints, according to a Business Week report. Since InterDigital owns more than 1,700 U.S. wireless patents and has helped to create industry-wide standards for mobile phone technology, the company was obligated to license relevant patents on fair terms. However, that wasn’t enough to keep InterDigital in the clear even after claiming they covered technologies the opposing companies didn’t invent.
The ITC cleared Nokia, Huawei and ZTE of infringement complaints by InterDigital on six patents, and ruled an additional patent claimed by InterDigital wasn’t valid either, according to an e-mailed statement. The licensing issue remains under review at the ITC. A few months back, an appeals court said the case was still pending and revived the claims, which will be considered by the agency separately. The investigation is set to be completed by Feb. 17. A second case against the companies is pending at the agency and is scheduled to be completed next year. The domestic industry issue also remains under review and awaits a final ruling.
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