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Court revives InterDigital's patent infringement claim against Nokia

An appeals court has reversed an order by the U.S. International Trade Commission

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday reversed an order by the U.S. International Trade Commission that ruled that Nokia did not infringe two wireless cellular patents of InterDigital Technology Corporation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the ITC "erred in construing certain critical claim terms in both patents."

It remanded the case to the Commission for further proceedings.

The patents in dispute are U.S. Patent numbers 7,190,966 ('966 patent) and 7,286,847 ('847 patent), and refer to the method and apparatus for performing an access procedure on CDMA (code division multiple access) networks. InterDigital is the assignee for both patents.

InterDigital filed a complaint with the ITC in 2007 which alleged that Nokia had violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing Wideband CDMA handsets that infringed the '966 and '847 patents. The administrative law judge, assigned to the case, conducted an evidentiary hearing and subsequently ruled in Nokia's favor, finding that InterDigital had failed to prove infringement.

On remand of the case to the ITC by the appeals court, InterDigital will seek an exclusion order barring entry into the U.S. of all infringing Nokia products employing 3G WCDMA technology, InterDigital said in a statement. The former chief administrative law judge had previously found that the two InterDigital patents at issue in the appeal were valid and enforceable, it added.

Nokia said it disagrees with the decision of the appellate court, which reversed the ITC's 2009 decision in Nokia's favor. "We are now reviewing the court's ruling in detail and will consider all legal options, including further appeals if appropriate," a company spokesman said in an email.

Certain subsidiaries of InterDigital, a digital communications company in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, signed in June a definitive agreement to sell to Intel about 1,700 patents and patent applications, relating to 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi, for US$375 million in cash. The companies said they expected the transaction to be completed in the third quarter of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions and any required regulatory approvals.

InterDigital said in January it had decided to include patent sales and licensing partnerships in its business plan after its review of strategic alternatives failed to get an offer for the whole company. It said it had received nearly US$3 billion in royalties from 2G and 3G licenses through Dec. 31, and saw great potential for the company's licensing program for LTE.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com


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