On June 4, a patent holding company named PatentMarks Communications LLC filed patent infringement lawsuits in the District of Delaware against a slew of electronics companies.  The companies accused of infringement include at least Dell, Futurewei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola Mobility, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and ZTE.  (The complaint against HTC [LINK here] is

In a post yesterday, we discussed Nokia’s amicus brief submitted “in support of neither party” in the Apple-Motorola FRAND Federal Circuit appeal (Judge Posner edition).  The amicus brief recently filed by BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) is now public, and it is very similar to Nokia’s — at least when it comes to the issue of the availability of injunctive relief.  While not expressly supporting Motorola, BlackBerry echoes Motorola’s (as well as Nokia’s) argument that injunction relief should not be categorically precluded for FRAND-encumbered standard-essential patents.

[2013.05.07 BlackBerry Amicus Brief]

Coincidentally, BlackBerry also now finds itself on the receiving end of a new patent infringement complaint from Canadian non-practicing entity Wi-LAN, which is based on BlackBerry’s alleged infringement of a patent that Wi-LAN claims is essential to the ETSI 3GPP Long-Term Evolution (LTE) telecommunications standard.


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While InterDigital continues to press its claims of 3G- and 4G-essential patent infringement in the International Trade Commission against Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE (Inv. No. 337-TA-868), the companies have also been fighting about FRAND-related issues in Delaware, where some of defendants have asserted FRAND-related counterclaims against InterDigital.  A few weeks back, we noted InterDigital had asked the court to dismiss Huawei and ZTE’s FRAND counterclaims, arguing that they were not ripe and were not properly pleaded, among other reasons.  Last Thursday, Huawei and ZTE filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss [LINK].
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For the last few months, Samsung and Ericsson have been engaged in a wide-ranging patent infringement skirmish, both in the Eastern District of Texas and in the U.S. International Trade Commission (Inv. Nos. 337-TA-862, 337-TA-866).  Many of the infringement assertions in these cases relate to the 4th-generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless communications standard, as well as other wireless communications standards promulgated by ETSI and IEEE.  Earlier this week, Samsung filed its Answer and Counterclaims in response to Ericsson’s complaint in case no. 6:12-cv-00894 in the Eastern District of Texas.

Pulling no punches, Samsung not only accuses Ericsson of breaching its FRAND obligations (an accusation it has previously made), but also asserts additional patents against Ericsson — including patents already being asserted in the ITC.  And notably, Samsung also paints Ericsson as a non-practicing entity that is trying to engage in patent hold up — Samsung states that Ericsson “now feels unhinged as a non-practicing entity in the mobile phone market to extort vastly unreasonable and discriminatory license fees,” and that it “seeks to ignore over a decade of licensing history between the companies and to travel down a new road as an NPE extracting irrational sums from Samsung under threat of an ITC exclusion order.”  Rhetoric aside, though, the meat of Samsung’s answer is really about its FRAND-related defenses and infringement counterclaims.


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Late yesterday, Administrative Law Judge Robert K. Rogers issued an order denying the motion brought by Huawei and ZTE (later joined by Nokia) to stay ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-868 pending the outcome of a potential FRAND determination in the District of Delaware.  As we noted in our initial post on this motion, this is not altogether surprising, given the ITC’s statutory mandate to decide cases quickly.  So it looks like InterDigital’s latest standard-essential ITC case will stick with the procedural schedule on a path to a December 2013 hearing.  Huawei and ZTE’s quest to avoid a potential exclusion order, meanwhile, will shift to the Delaware district court, where they recently told the court that it could enjoin InterDigital from enforcing any ITC exclusion order on its SEPs until FRAND issues are resolved.

The order itself is confidential, but the screenshot below shows
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ITC LogoOn Friday, March 8, Ericsson filed the (redacted) public version of its answer to Samsung’s Complaint and the Notice of Investigation in In the Matter of Certain Wireless Communications Equipment and Articles Therein (Inv. No. 337-TA-866).  This ITC Section 337 investigation is based on a January 2013 complaint from Samsung that alleges Ericsson’s 4G LTE-compatible base stations infringe several Samsung LTE-essential patents.

Given Samsung’s assertion of standard-essential patents, it’s no surprise that Ericsson’s complaint includes FRAND-based defenses.  
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Yesterday we covered InterDigital’s opposition to Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE’s efforts to stay the ITC’s investigation into InterDigital’s latest Section 337 complaint pending a potential FRAND determination in the District of Delaware.  We also noted that the other respondent, Samsung, did not join the motion but stated that it did not oppose such a stay.    The ITC Investigative Staff from the Office on Unfair Important Investigations (a third party that participates in many ITC investigations as a representative of the public interest) also filed its own response to the motion yesterday.  The Staff opposes the motion to stay for a variety of reasons, which we will get into below.
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ITC LogoYesterday, InterDigital filed its opposition to Huawei & ZTE’s motion (later joined by another respondent, Nokia) to stay Inv. No. 337-TA-868, which is the ITC’s investigation into InterDigital’s 3G/4G standard-essential patent infringement-based Section 337 complaint.  Much as it did in its prior opposition to Huawei/ZTE’s attempts to seek an expedited FRAND determination in Delaware district court, InterDigital here claims that nothing in the motion to stay counsels staying the investigation pending a determination of FRAND terms in Delaware — in fact, InterDigital attached its opposition to expedite the Delaware proceedings as an exhibit to its ITC stay opposition.  After the jump, we’ll provide a brief summary of InterDigital’s arguments against staying the ITC case.

InterDigital wasn’t the only one filing papers in this case yesterday, though — Samsung also filed a response to the motion to stay.  Samsung’s position is, succinctly, that “[w]hile Samsung does not join the Motion, Samsung does not oppose the requested stay.” (You may recall that Samsung has its own motion to terminate some of InterDigital’s infringement claims pending in this case).


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Earlier this week we noted that Huawei and ZTE have asked the ITC to stay its investigation into InterDigital’s complaint of 3G/4G standard-essential patent infringement.  This was done in part because Huawei and ZTE have requested that the District Court of Delaware to expedite a determination of a FRAND rate for InterDigital’s patents.  Yesterday, InterDigital filed virtually identical opposition briefs in both cases (Opp. to Huawei / Opp. to ZTE), in which it urged the court to deny the motions — arguing that it is improper for Huawei and ZTE “to seek a purely hypothetical and advisory opinion in the form of an expedited ‘FRAND rate’ determination” while still maintaining an ability to refuse to pay in the event the patents are later found invalid or non-essential/not infringed.  This is an interesting issue surrounding FRAND licensing that has been the topic of much debate lately.
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