Appeals Court Denies Nokia’s Re-Hearing Bid in InterDigital Case, Confirms ‘Domestic Industry’ Requirement

  • January 15, 2013

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declined on Thursday to review a previous decision that revived InterDigital’s patent claims against Nokia at the International Trade Commission (ITC). The issue before the court was whether InterDigital’s patent licensing activities satisfied the “domestic industry” requirement. InterDigital originally filed a complaint at the ITC against Nokia in 2007, alleging that Nokia’s 3G phones infringed several of its patents related high-speed data transmission and power control.  In August 2009, the ITC found that Nokia did not infringe InterDigital’s asserted patents, and InterDigital  thereby filed an appeal. In the meantime, Nokia urged the court to reconsider its decision based on the premise that InterDigital does not actually manufacture any products using the patents at issue and that no domestic industry actually produces the items for which the import exclusion is sought.  In a 2-1 decision, the court disagreed with Nokia, denied its request for a re-hearing, and again held that InterDigital’s history of licensing its technology fulfills the ITC’s domestic industry requirement. Judge Newman, in his dissent, again stated his belief that the “licensing” amendment to Section 337 of the Tariff Act, “was not to eliminate the ITC requirement of domestic manufacture of the licensed articles.” The dispute between Nokia and InterDigital arose after Nokia’s previous license to InterDigital’s intellectual property expired in 2006 and the companies were unable to reach a new agreement.  Earlier this month, InterDigital filed new complaints at the ITC against Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and ZTE alleging that the companies’ 3G and 4G wireless devices infringed up to seven patents (7,286,847; 7,190,966; 7,941,151; 8,009,636; 7,706,830; 7,616,970; 7,502,406). InterDigital is a publicly-traded NPE that holds over 1,500 patents and claims to have license agreements with almost 40 manufacturers of wireless equipment, including Apple, Ericsson, HTC, LG, NEC, Nokia, RIM, SamsungSharp, and Sony-Ericsson. The ITC case is still pending. (Federal Circuit case No. 2010-1093; ITC case No. 337-613.)


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