Feeds

'Patent trolling' InterDigital CAN ask ITC to ban Nokia mobes: Supreme Court

It might not make any PRODUCTS, but patent-lobbing's a business too

High performance access to file storage

Nokia has failed to get the US Supreme Court to rule that the International Trade Commission shouldn't hear cases involving companies whose business only involves patents, despite supporting evidence from Amazon, Red Hat, and HP – and to the delight of InterDigital.

Nokia recently lost an appeal in an ongoing court case against it by InterDigital, which is claiming royalties for Nokia's use of mobile phone technology for which InterDigital says it holds the patents.

InterDigital is pursuing court action against a wide variety of firms in various countries. But in the US, the International Trade Commission (ITC) offers an additional attack vector for wronged patent-holders: if infringing goods risk damaging a US business, then the ITC can ban their import to the USA while the court case rumbles on.

The Finnish firm's lawyers had asked the court to prevent InterDigital from pursuing an ITC case related to the use some of its standards-essential 3G patents in Nokia products, arguing InterDigital couldn't seek a ban on Nokia kit because it doesn't make any products of its own.

As Bloomberg explains the ITC can only act to protect a US business. If InterDigital wasn't doing any business in the US, Nokia's argument went, then it doesn't need the protection of the ITC and thus the ITC has no power to hear the case. The Supreme Court rejected this argument.

Given patent cases can last for years, a US import ban focuses the mind wonderfully and prevents legalistic prevarication by infringing companies who may just be playing for time in the hope the patent-holder will run out of cash.

Unlike other patent-holders which involve themselves frequently in litigation, InterDigital does its own research and development rather than simply buying, selling and defending patents in court.

Nokia's argument was that InterDigital conducts no business and thus can't be harmed by imports, backed by filings from Amazon, HP and Red Hat – assertions that InterDigital firmly contested.

Ultimately that argument proved irrelevant, as the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided a US business based on patent ownership is still a US business and can be protected by the ITC.

The Supreme Court is still working through another appeal which would enable those accused of infringing patents to claw back their legal costs if cleared, which would make litigants think twice before launching an action. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.