Microsoft Risks Smartphone Sales Ban After Losing Patent Ruling


US ITC preliminary ruling says Microsoft infringes two cellular patents in its handsets

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) says Microsoft’s smartphones, acquired in the £4.6 billion takeover of Nokia’s handset division, infringe two wireless patents owned by InterDigital.

The patents in question cover technology used to power up phones and to connect to 3G networks. Judge Theodore R. Essex’s ruling will now be reviewed by the ITC and if his judgement is upheld, then Microsoft could face a sales ban in the US.

Interdigital, which has pursued the likes of Huawei and Samsung in court over alleged patent infringement and has targeted Nokia since 2007, has welcomed Essex’s preliminary ruling.

Microsoft patent ruling

Lumia 640 XL (2)“We’re obviously very satisfied with today’s ruling, which underscores the strength of InterDigital’s portfolio and our long track record of developing and licensing some of the core wireless technologies that have helped drive the growth of our industry,” said Lawrence F. Shay, Executive Vice President, Intellectual Property, and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel.

“We hope it will form the basis for the final determination by the ITC. We also look forward to continued discussion with Nokia and Microsoft Mobile to achieve a license on fair and reasonable terms.”

Microsoft itself has targeted numerous Android smartphone manufacturers over alleged patent abuse, securing settlements with the likes of Dell, HTC, LG and Samsung. Microsoft told TechWeekEurope it would await the ITC’s final report.

“This is one step in the process and we look forward to the full Commission’s thorough review,” said a spokesperson. “We have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards.”

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