Last Tuesday InterDigital Inc (King of Prussia, Penn., U.S.A.), a wireless technology manufacturer, filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against Nokia Corp, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp accusing the cellphone makers of infringing seven InterDigital technology patents.
The wireless technology patent holder, which is considering selling itself, said it has asked the ITC to bar these companies from U.S. sales of any infringing products, including phones or tablet computers.
InterDigital shares were about 3% higher after the news. The company said it also filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
Wireless technology patents -- a long-time source of legal battles -- have garnered renewed interest since bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp sold its patent portfolio for $4.5 billion earlier this month.
Since then, InterDigital said it was looking into a possible sale, causing its shares to soar 76% after speculation Google Inc could buy the InterDigital patents. Activist investor Carl Icahn urged Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc to also look at alternatives such as splitting off its patents portfolio from the rest of the company.
Huawei spokesman Bill Plummer said his company has not seen the InterDigital complaint, but was confident of the integrity of Huawei's licensing and cross licensing practices and would defend itself "vigorously."
"Licensing and cross licensing of intellectual property rights are the normal course of business in our industry. Given other recent news reports related to InterDigital it is unclear what other motives may be at play here," Plummer said.
Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant said the company was aware of the lawsuit and would "take whatever steps needed to protect its rights." A ZTE representative declined immediate comment.
InterDigital said the ITC must decide whether to start a formal investigation within 30 days of the complaint filing, according to the company.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andre Grenon)