© The Financial Times Ltd 2015 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
January 3, 2013 11:43 pm
InterDigital, the Philadelphia-based wireless technology developer, has asked the US International Trade Commission to ban imports of certain handsets made by Samsung, Nokia, ZTE and Huawei, which it claims infringe seven of its patents.
The filing and a related lawsuit came as InterDigital, which holds an extensive portfolio of wireless technology patents, signed separate licensing deals covering mobile technology with Research In Motion and Sony, and announced the launch of a joint venture company with Sony that will develop M2M (machine-to-machine) technologies.
In its latest ITC complaint, InterDigital says Samsung, Nokia, ZTE and Huawei “have engaged in unfair trade practices” by selling certain 3G and 4G wireless devices including “mobile phones, USB sticks, mobile hotspots, laptops and tablets” that allegedly infringe the seven patents.
“Wireless technology continues to advance at tremendous speed based on the contributions that InterDigital and others have made to core connectivity technology,” said Lawrence Shay, president of InterDigital’s patent holding subsidiaries.
“For InterDigital, that effort represents roughly $1bn of research and development involving hundreds of wireless engineers over decades. While the vast majority of our dozens of licensees recognise our contributions and choose to license our portfolio based on discussions alone, in some cases we’re forced to resort to legal action.”
The ITC has 30 days to decide whether to launch an investigation into the claims. InterDigital filed a parallel suit in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, asking for a permanent sales ban of the related products and unspecified damages including enhanced damages based on its allegations of “wilful infringement”.
The companies targeted in InterDigital’s latest suit have yet to respond to the allegations.
InterDigital has a long record of pursuing companies it claims have infringed its patents. Two years ago InterDigital filed a complaint with the ITC against Nokia, Huawei and ZTE claiming infringements of its 3G wireless patents.
Previously, the company signed licensing deals with Apple relating to technology used in the iPhone and with Samsung following patent disputes. The agreement with Samsung, announced in November 2008, covered the use of InterDigital’s technology in Samsung’s 2G and 3G handsets through 2012.
The latest agreement with Research In Motion, the Canadian manufacturer of BlackBerry smartphones, will allow RIM to use InterDigital’s patented technology in its BlackBerry 10 devices due for launch at the end of this month. Last month RIM announced a recent deal with Nokia resolving a patent dispute over the use of Nokia’s WiFi technology.
Meanwhile, InterDigital said it reached a licensing deal with Sony covering the use of its 3G and 4G LTE technology in Sony handsets. At the same time, the two companies announced the formation of a joint venture company to be called Convida Wireless that will “focus on driving new research in the growing field of M2M wireless communications and other connectivity areas”.
Based on the terms of the agreement, the two companies will contribute funding and resources for additional M2M research and platform development, which will be carried out by InterDigital Solutions. Stephens Capital Partners will be a minority investor in Convida.
“Mobile is one of Sony’s core businesses, and this joint venture will help us strengthen our foundation in this important area, focusing specifically on machine-to-machine wireless technologies,” said Toshimoto Mitomo, Sony’s executive vice-president of entrepreneurship and innovation.
He added: “In a market that is by its very nature collaborative, we expect Convida Wireless to be a platform for additional industry collaboration.”
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.
Sign up for email briefings to stay up to date on topics you are interested in