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InterDigital sues Nokia, Huawei and ZTE

The mobile chip company says they infringe on seven patents

InterDigital on Tuesday said it has filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission and federal court against Nokia, Huawei and ZTE, charging the companies with patent infringement.

InterDigital claims that the companies infringe seven of its patents in their 3G phones, USB sticks, mobile hotspots and tablets.

The company is asking the ITC to forbid Nokia, Huawei and ZTE from importing the relevant products into the U.S. It has also filed a complaint in the U.S District Court for the District of Delaware alleging that the three companies infringe the same patents.

InterDigital said it has tried to negotiate licensing deals with the companies but has failed to "reach an acceptable resolution."

Nokia, Huawei and ZTE could not be reached for comment.

The actions come shortly after InterDigital announced it was reviewing options for the company, including a sale of the business. Over the past year it has seen the value of intellectual property rise as mobile companies have begun to understand the value of such assets, it said. Both Google and Apple are rumored suitors.

InterDigital has around 1,400 U.S. patents but claims to have a patent portfolio of 19,000 issued patents and patent applications worldwide.

As competition in the mobile market heats up, the value of patents is indeed skyrocketing. Many of the largest companies in the mobile industry are engaged in patent infringement battles and the one with the largest portfolio tends to win. Apple has sued Motorola, Samsung and HTC over their Android products. Microsoft has persuaded HTC and others to license its technology for use in their Android products, and Oracle is suing Google over Android.

In addition, Motorola may be considering a way to better leverage its patent portfolio. And, a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony recently submitted a winning US$4.5 billion bid for Nortel's patent portfolio.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com


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