Microsoft is likely to face a ban on importing handsets into the US after a ruling issued by the International Trade Commission. The commission noted, Microsoft had used technology for which InterDigital owns the patents without obtaining the relevant permission. The long-running patent-infringement case was levied by InterDigital first against Nokia and ZTE, but since Microsoft now owns Nokia’s Devices and Services division, the problem has been transferred to it.
Microsoft vs InterDigital
If proven guilty, Microsoft could face an an import ban on Lumia phones in the US. InterDigital conveyed to the commission that Microsoft violated its wireless patents by using its technology in Lumia devices without permission.
The commission judge Theodore Essex ruled “Microsoft infringed on two wireless cellular patents owned by InterDigital”. The judge also ruled that it would “not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft devices from import into the United States”.
“We’re obviously very satisfied with today’s ruling, which underscores the strength of InterDigital’s portfolio and our long track record of developing and licensing some of the core wireless technologies that have helped drive the growth of our industry,” InterDigital chief intellectual property counsel and executive vice-president Lawrence F. Shay said in a press release.
He further added,
“We hope it will form the basis for the final determination by the ITC. We also look forward to continued discussion with Nokia and Microsoft Mobile to achieve a license on fair and reasonable terms.”
Microsoft did not have much to say about the ruling, it offered only a brief statement to the media saying “we have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards.”
InterDigital has expressed interest in having a discussion with Microsoft over a possible licensing agreement. If the agreement fails, it could have a significant bearing on Microsoft especially when the company is in the mid process of preparing the launch of its upcoming Windows 10 devices.