US ITC to investigate Samsung, Nokia phones for patent infringement after InterDigital complaint

InterDigital alleges the four companies, including Huawei and ZTE, infringed on seven of its patents

The U.S. International Trade Commission plans to investigate the smartphones of Samsung, Nokia and Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE for patent infringement, after wireless technology provider InterDigital filed a complaint.

InterDigital alleged in its complaint, filed on Jan. 2, that the four companies sold wireless devices in the U.S. that infringed up to seven of its cellular-related patents. The accused devices include Samsung's Galaxy S III, Nokia's Lumia 920, Huawei's MediaPad S7 Pro and the ZTE Avail, among a whole host of others.

The complaint requests the ITC to ban the infringing devices from import to the U.S. and stop their sale in the country. On Thursday, the ITC said it would launch an investigation, which will focus on 3G and 4G wireless products from the four companies including smartphones, datacards, and tablets and laptops with cellular capabilities.

The patents brought up in the complaint cover technologies that allow mobile devices to better access cellular networks, along with transmission power and data channel control.

InterDigital spokesman Patrick Van de Wille said in an email the company had nothing further to add, but noted the case is based on wireless technologies from its team of more than 200 engineers. The company, which licenses its technology out to vendors and manufacturers, has close to 20,000 U.S. and foreign-issued patents and patent applications.

"ZTE is aware of this investigation and are actively preparing to respond to the suit," it said via email. "We hope to seek reasonable solutions based on the rules of mutual respect and mutual benefits."

Samsung declined to comment on the investigation. Nokia and Huawei did not immediately comment.

InterDigital previously filed a similar patent infringement complaint with the ITC against Nokia, Huawei and ZTE back in July 2011. The investigation is still pending, InterDigital said in a January press release.

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Michael Kan

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