On Friday, U.S. International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge David P. Shaw issued a Notice of Initial Determination in In the Matter of Certain Wireless Devices with 3G Capabilities and Components Thereof, Inv. No. 337-TA-800.  This investigation was originally instituted nearly two years ago based on a complaint filed by InterDigital against Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, and LG, in which InterDigital accused the companies of infringing several InterDigital patents alleged to be essential to various 3G cellular communications standards.  The evidentiary hearing was held in January 2013, and the case involves the intersection of a two issues that have drawn a lot of attention lately — the assertion of standard-essential patents at the ITC (and what if any relevance FRAND licensing obligations have to the proceedings), as well as patent infringement cases brought by non-practicing entities (InterDigital is an NPE that has been deemed a “patent troll” by some, while others take a more favorable view of the company’s activities).

So far, it appears that InterDigital’s SEP infringement assertions have failed (at least for now).  While the public version of ALJ Shaw’s Initial Determination won’t become available for at least a few weeks, Friday’s Notice indicates that ALJ Shaw found no violations of Section 337 with respect to any of the seven remaining asserted patents. 
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Earlier this month we covered InterDigital’s efforts to dismiss Huawei and ZTE’s FRAND counterclaims, which were asserted against InterDigital in litigations in the U.S. District Court in Delaware.  Yesterday, InterDigital filed another motion to dismiss FRAND-related counterclaims in a different Delaware district court litigation — this time, InterDigital seeks to have Nokia’s FRAND counterclaims

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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Lately, there’s been a lot of activity in InterDigital-related cases, both in district courts and the ITC.  Aside from the hearing in Inv. No. 337-TA-800 (scheduled to wrap up today), the respondents named in InterDigital’s latest complaint (Inv. No. 337-TA-868) — Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE — filed their answers yesterday.  Given InterDigital’s assertion of 3G/4G cellular standard-essential patents here, it comes as no surprise to see that in addition to customary patent infringement defenses, the respondents have asserted several FRAND-specific defenses.  Below is a quick rundown of the FRAND-specific defenses asserted by the individual respondents.


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