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US ITC launches InterDigital cellphone patent investigation

updated 11:08 pm EST, Thu January 31, 2013

Samsung, Nokia, ZTE, Huawei devices potentially infringing

As expected, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced that it is launching its investigation into InterDigital's patent complaint against mobile phone manufacturers Huawei, Samsung, Nokia, and ZTE. Non-practicing entity InterDigital Communications complained to the ITC that the four manufacturers were violating patents related to CDMA, and LTE communications. 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.

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 all the manufacturers 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.

The approval is the expected first step by the ITC in the complaint process. Within 45 days after commencement of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for investigation completion, which may be as many as three years in the future, given previous target dates. The ITC will assign the case to one of the commission's six administrative law judges, who will then schedule an evidentiary hearing.

Following the hearing, the ITC will make a final decision "at the earliest practicable time," which is generally months afterwards. It is likely that by the conclusion of the ITC investigation and final ruling, that few of the devices alleged to be infringing InterDigital's patents will have any relevancy in the marketplace.

Samsung's motion that InterDigital did not provide imported devices for the complaint that were purchased after a licensing agreement expired from earlier this week will be examined during the evidentiary hearing. Huawei's claim that it is a willing licensee of the patents in question will be evaluated as well.



By Electronista Staff
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