updated 06:44 pm EST, Tue January 29, 2013
Samsung claims inappropriate filing, Huawei says FRAND not offered
InterDigital is being given some stronger-than-usual resistance to its International Trade Commission (ITC) complaints against Huawei and Samsung. Huawei yesterday requested the ITC not investigate InterDigital's latest complaint until the standards-essential patents involved in the complaint have been resolved in federal court in Delaware. On the same day, Samsung complained to the ITC that InterDigital did not provide imported devices for the complaint that were purchased after a licensing agreement expired.
In regards to Samsung's complaint with the ITC regarding the filing, Samsung admits that InterDigital did provide three Galaxy Tab II tablets, four Galaxy Note II devices, four Galaxy S III smartphones, two Galaxy Stellar phones, and two Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets for the filing. However, Samsung claims that the devices that were purchased were imported into the US while its licensing agreement with InterDigital was in place, as the ITC complaint was filed mere hours after the expiration of the license.
Patent analyst Florian Mueller believes that if the ITC agrees with Samsung, then "InterDigital will have to send its counsel on another shopping tour, and given the considerable delay between importation and sale of such products, I'm not sure this could happen immediately. InterDigital may have to wait until it's a safe assumption that any devices it obtains in the US market were imported after expiration of the license agreement." Mueller also states that the only way for InterDigital to be certain of violation is for a future filing to wait until Samsung introduces new devices into the US.
Huawei's letter claims that a "delay in institution of InterDigital's complaint will significantly conserve Commission and party resources, as well as permit the Commission to implement the recommendation of its sister agencies and federal district courts concerning exclusion orders applicable to FRAND-committed SEPs".
Additionally, in its letter regarding the InterDigital complaint, Huawei calls itself a willing licensee -- a key component to avoid FRAND legal claims -- and says that it has not been offered fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms by InterDigital. Huawei is seeking "a declaratory judgment setting an appropriate FRAND royalty to license IDC's United States 3G and 4G LTE patents that have been declared essential to a standard used by any products accused in the earlier filed case or in this action."
Key Samsung devices accused of violating the patents are the Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Tab II, and its 4G LTE mobile hotspot products. The complaints cover a large range of products from Samsung, Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE including "certain 3G and 4G wireless devices (including WCDMA-, cdma2000- and LTE-capable mobile phones, USB sticks, mobile hotspots, laptop computers and tablets, and components of such devices) that infringe up to seven of InterDigital's US patents," according to the complaint. InterDigitial is seeking "permanent injunction and compensatory damages in an amount to be determined, as well as enhanced damages based on willful infringement" of the company's patents.
The ITC has not ruled on either Samsung's or Huawei's letters regarding the ITC actions. No hearing dates are currently scheduled.