In early January, InterDigital filed a Section 337 complaint in the U.S. International Trade Commission against Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE, accusing those companies’ 3G/4G-compliant smartphones and tablets of infringing several InterDigital patents (this is now ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-868).  Because the ITC cannot award monetary relief, it’s common for complainants to also file corresponding infringement actions in district court, which InterDigital did here in the District of Delaware.  In order to relieve ITC respondents from the burden of litigating in multiple venues simultaneously, 28 U.S.C. § 1659 allows respondents to seek a mandatory stay of the district court action pending the outcome of the ITC case.  Generally, respondents seek such a stay.  But here, neither Huawei nor ZTE have sought a stay — in fact, they have asked the Delaware district court to expedite discovery on FRAND issues.  It’s an interesting strategic move in which they leverage recent guidance from government agencies and other pending litigation, and it’s a strategy that (if successful) may be followed by many more ITC respondents in the future.
Continue Reading Huawei, ZTE seek expedited FRAND determinations in InterDigital 3G/4G standard-essential patent dispute

Earlier this month, InterDigital Communications filed a Section 337 complaint with the ITC, alleging that Samsung, Nokia, ZTE, and Huawei infringed several of InterDigital’s 3G and 4G-essential patents.  As we noted in our earlier post on the matter, InterDigital included a statement regarding the public interest along with its complaint, attempting to preemptively assuage any public interest concerns the Commission may have due to the inclusion of standard-essential patents in the complaint.  Over the past two weeks, though, the proposed respondents have each filed their own public interest statements with the ITC, asserting a number of reasons why the public interest might be adversely affected by the institution of an investigation based on InterDigital’s complaint.
Continue Reading InterDigital, Nokia, others dispute public interest implications of 3G/4G patent assertions

In a not-so-surprising development in light of the FTC-Google/Motorola settlement announced last week, Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility asked the ITC yesterday to drop its two remaining standard-essential patents from its Xbox infringement dispute with Microsoft (Inv. No. 337-TA-752).  The two patents dropped from the case — U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,980,596 and 7,162,094 — are alleged by Motorola to be essential to the ITU-T H.264 video coding standard.  Given that the only relief that the ITC may grant is of an injunctive nature (whether an exclusion order or a cease & desist order), Motorola’s action appears to be consistent with the principles set forth in the FTC settlement, in which Google and Motorola agreed to forego seeking injunctive relief for SEPs except in certain extraordinary circumstances.
Continue Reading Motorola drops remaining SEPs from Microsoft Xbox ITC action

Because so many SEP-related issues have arisen over the past year, we will periodically revisit some of the more important episodes with a brief post.  Next month, the U.S. International Trade Commission will issue a Final Determination in In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Tablet Computers (No. 337-TA-794), a Section 337 patent infringement action brought by Samsung against Apple.  This presents us with a timely opportunity to discuss the background of some of the SEP and FRAND-related issues of first impression that may be decided by the Commission in the case.

The Samsung-Apple ITC investigation (337-TA-794) originated with a complaint brought by Samsung against Apple back in June 2011, in which Samsung accused various Apple products of infringing five patents.  Two of these patents — U.S. Pat Nos. 7,706,348 and 7,486,644 — were alleged by Samsung to be essential to the UMTS 3G cellular standard.  Not surprisingly, Apple claimed that Samsung’s FRAND obligations with respect to these SEPs prevent Samsung from receiving an exclusion order, in the event Apple is found to violate Section 337.

Continue Reading Catching up on . . . the Samsung-Apple ITC action (Inv. No. 337-TA-794)

Lost in the all of the publicity surrounding the FTC’s consent decree that ended its investigation of Google and Motorola Mobility yesterday is the fact that while the FTC’s decision not to proceed with action against Google for its search practices was unanimous, its decision to issue a complaint and order relating to Google’s enforcement of its SEPs was not — Commissioner Maureen K. Olhausen submitted a dissenting statement.  (Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch issued a separate statement, but voted in favor of issuing the complaint).  The mere fact that the decision was not unanimous isn’t that remarkable in and of itself, as the five-member Commission often reaches split decisions.  However, Commissioner Olhausen’s dissent raises some issues about the FTC’s action that warrant mentioning here.
Continue Reading A dissenting voice from the FTC/Google consent agreement

In a press conference that took place at 1pm Eastern time today, the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it has entered into a consent decree with Google in which Google agreed to forego seeking injunctive relief as a remedy for infringement of SEPs that have been pledged to be licensed on RAND terms.  The FTC voted 4-1 in favor of the decision, with Commissioner Maureen Olhausen dissenting.
Continue Reading Google agrees to forego seeking injunctive relief for SEP infringement as part of FTC settlement

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.
Continue Reading Interdigital Files Complaint with ITC alleging 3G, 4G Patent Infringement