InterDigital, Inc. is a patent licensing entity that claims to have a stash of standard-essential patents.  The company hasn’t shied away from litigation either:  For example, it has a hearing next month in the U.S. International Trade Commission on its complaint that Huawei, LG, Nokia, and ZTE infringed some of its 3G cellular standard-essential patents (Inv. No. 337-TA-800) and has been involved in two other ITC investigations.  Yesterday, InterDigital announced that it filed another Section 337 complaint with the ITC.  This complaint alleges that Proposed Respondents Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE infringe various InterDigital patents by importing into the United States mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) that are compatible with certain 3G and 4G wireless communications standards (WCDMA, CDMA2000, and LTE).  InterDigital is seeking an exclusion order that would bar these companies from importing these accused devices into the United States, as well as a cease and desist order preventing sale and distribution of accused devices that already entered the United States.

The propriety of asserting essential patents in the International Trade Commission is a hot topic right now, so it’s not surprising that InterDigital included a statement regarding the public interest with its complaint that addresses this issue.  InterDigital claims that any FRAND issues should be evaluated only as case-by-case affirmative defenses, and therefore that the Proposed Respondents “have no proper basis to assert that any public interest weighs against institution or the relief sought by InterDigital.”  InterDigital even cites a brief filed by the Office of Unfair Import Investigations (OUII, the staff attorneys that act as an independent third party in many ITC investigations) in a pending ITC case between Samsung and Apple (337-TA-794).  But given that the International Trade Commission has requested briefing on RAND issues from Samsung and Apple in the -794 Investigation, the Commission may issue an order in the coming months regarding the circumstances under which it is proper or improper to assert RAND-pledged SEPs in the ITC.

There are seven patents asserted by InterDigital in its complaint:

  1. U.S. Patent No. 7,190,966
  2. U.S. Patent No. 7,286,847
  3. U.S. Patent No. 8,009,636
  4. U.S. Patent No. 7,706,830
  5. U.S. Patent No, 7,941,151
  6. U.S. Patent No, 7,616,970
  7. U.S. Patent No. 7,502,406

The ‘151 patent is asserted against all of the Proposed Respondents.  Each of the other six patents is being asserted against only a subset of the Proposed Respondents due to assertions in prior litigation.  In addition to the ITC complaint, InterDigital also filed parallel infringement complaints in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, seeking a permanent injunction and damages for infringement.  However, if the ITC institutes an investigation, the Delaware actions likely will be stayed under 28 U.S.C. § 1659.

InterDigital’s full ITC complaint can be accessed from the link below:

Interdigital ITC Complaint (337-TA-2929)