Huawei, ZTE named in new dispute over 3G and 4G mobile patents

InterDigital accuses mainland firms of selling wireless products that broke copyright rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 2:48am

Huawei Technologies and ZTE - China's biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturers - have been accused of patent infringement in a case filed by InterDigital with the United States International Trade Commission.

The complaint, which InterDigital announced yesterday, also named as respondents the US subsidiaries of Huawei and ZTE, as well as Samsung Electronics, Nokia and their respective US operations.

Founded in 1972 and based in Pennsylvania, InterDigital is a wireless communications research and development company that had close to 20,000 US and foreign patents and patent applications in June last year.

InterDigital alleged that the respondents "engaged in unfair trade practices" by selling or importing into the US certain 3G and 4G wireless devices that infringed on as many as seven of the company's US patents.

It said the action extended to certain mobile devices incorporating Wi-fi functionality.

The offending products included smartphones, media tablets, USB modems, laptop computers and components of such devices.

Advanced 4G networks have theoretical internet download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. The fastest existing 3G networks run at 42Mbps.

"While the vast majority of our dozens of licensees recognise our contributions and choose to license our portfolio based on discussions alone, in some cases we're forced to resort to legal action," said Lawrence Shay, the president of InterDigital's patent-holding subsidiaries.

InterDigital, which also filed a parallel patent infringement lawsuit in the US District Court of Delaware, is seeking a ban on the import of infringing 3G and 4G devices into the US.

Spokesmen for Huawei and for ZTE did not respond to requests for comments.

The respondents have a legal right to stay the Delaware court proceeding pending the final determination by the USITC, an independent, quasi-judicial body.

InterDigital said certain of the patents in its complaint had been asserted in earlier USITC proceedings against Huawei, ZTE and Nokia, including a pending investigation that was initiated by the wireless technology developer in July 2011.