CAFC Reverses and Remands ITC Ruling on Nokia
- August 9, 2012
August 7, 2012 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded an International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling that found that InterDigital’s [NPE] patents were not infringed by Nokia. The CAFC based its ruling on a finding that the ITC’s construction of the claim terms “code” and “increased power level” were improperly narrow, although Judge Newman did dissent on this issue. More importantly, the CAFC affirmed that patent licensing alone is sufficient to meet the “domestic industry” requirement that must be met before adjudicating a claim before the ITC. Specifically, the Court stated, “Section 337(a)(3) makes clear that the required United States industry can be based on patent licensing alone; it does not require that the articles that are the objects of the licensing activities (i.e., the “articles protected by the patent”) be made in this country. That is, the domestic industry requirement is satisfied if there is “’substantial investment in [the patent’s] exploitation where the exploitation is achieved by various means, including ‘licensing’”. 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, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony-Ericsson. In July 2011, InterDigital issued a press release stating that it was exploring “potential strategic alternatives for the company, which may include a sale”, and Bloomberg reported that Apple and Google were in discussions with the company. On June 18, 2012, InterDigital announced the sale of a large portion of its patent portfolio purportedly related to 3G, LTE, and 802.11 technologies to Intel for $375 million.