ITC judge rules in favor of Nokia

HOUSTON: A U.S. International Trade Commission judge has issued an initial determination in favor of cell-phone maker Nokia Corp. in a patent infringement case brought by wireless technology developer InterDigital Inc.

The judge's determination, issued Friday, found no infringement by Nokia on four patents held by InterDigital.

InterDigital filed a complaint with the ITC two years ago alleging the Finnish cell-phone giant had engaged in unfair trade practices by selling certain third-generation technology handsets for importation into the United States. InterDigital, based in King of Prussia, Pa., claims the handsets and components infringe on four of its U.S. patents.

In a statement, InterDigital said it strongly disagreed with the ruling and would petition the commission for a review of the determination. If the commission grants a review, its final ruling is expected to be issued by Dec. 14, both companies said.

"While we are disappointed with the ... determination, the patents asserted in this case represent a very small fraction of our total 3G portfolio," William J. Merritt, InterDigital's CEO, said in a statement.

In July 2008, InterDigital and Nokia agreed to end two patent cases in English courts.

The cases related to third-generation cell-phone technology patents the companies own and whether they are essential to the UMTS, or universal mobile telecommunications system, 3G telephony standard.

Details of those agreements were confidential.