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April 29, 2015

Could Microsoft face a US phone import ban?

The US International Trade Commission is hosting the patent battle between InterDigital & Microsoft.

By CBR Staff Writer

The patent battle between wireless technology maker InterDigital and Microsoft has heated up after Microsoft lost the first round, which could result in an import ban on Microsoft phones.

The US International Trade Commission has ruled that the software giant has infringed on two patents held by InterDigital, related to technologies used for powering phones and connecting to 3G wireless networks.

The case initially surfaced in 2007, when InterDigital filed a complaint with the ITC claiming that Nokia, which later sold its phone division to Microsoft, was engaged in unfair trade practise, as it infringed four of its patents relating to 3G mobile handsets.

However, in 2009 InterDigital lost the battle against Nokia when a US International Trade Commission Judge found that there were no infringement of the patents.

After the defeat, InterDigital won an appeal in federal court, which was then sent back to the ITC.

Microsoft is planning to challenge the decision, saying: "This is one step in the process and we look forward to the full Commission’s thorough review.

"We have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards."

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In the present ruling, Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex did not find signs of InterDigital trying to license its technology, but he found that the tech titans were not willing to pay for a license that was offered on reasonable terms.

In 2013 InterDigital was involved in a similar case where it asked US International Trade Commission (USITC) to ban the US imports of products made by Huawei, Samsung and ZTE accusing the companies of infringing on seven of its patents.

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