HTC, Nokia, Motorola, LG accused of using patent infringing semiconductors

Tela Innovations has targeted smartphones, tablets, and other devices from these companies

Tela Innovations has filed patent infringement complaints against key mobile handset vendors, including LG, HTC, Nokia and Motorola Mobility, before the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

The electronic design automation company said Monday it has developed patented design technologies for integrated-circuit manufacturing processes where lithography-driven constraints require new approaches to both digital circuit design and the physical implementation of these designs.

Large phone and tablet makers like Nokia, Apple, and Motorola are already involved in a number of patent disputes. The action by Tela highlights the possibility that makers of consumer devices could be sued for alleged patent infringement by vendors further in the food chain like developers of technology for semiconductor devices and other components that go into smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics devices.

Also named in the complaints by Tela is Pantech of South Korea.

The technologies are utilized in the most recent generation of products offered by the companies named in the complaints, Tela, a privately-held company in Los Gatos, California, said.

The complaint before the Delaware court seeks a permanent injunction and compensatory damages among other things, while the complaint before the ITC seeks an exclusion order that would bar from entry into the U.S. infringing smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices that are imported by or on behalf of the accused companies.

The ITC has confirmed receipt of a complaint, and has asked for comments on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or complainant's filing. If the commission institutes an investigation, the mobile and tablets companies named in the complaint will have a statutory right, but not the obligation, to stay the Delaware District Court proceeding pending a final determination by the ITC, Tela said.

In a filing to the ITC on Feb. 8, Tela has claimed that the companies violated seven patents including U.S. patents numbers 8,264,049, 8,264,044, 8,258,550, 8,258,547, 8,217,428, 8,258,552, and 8,030,689, relating to semiconductor design and devices. The details of the patents can be found on the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The consumer electronics devices from the respondents incorporate semiconductor devices that infringe Tela's patented layout optimization technology, although these companies had previously offered the same categories of consumer electronics devices with semiconductor devices that did not use the technology, Tela said in the complaint.

Telas has Intel Capital, Cadence Design Systems and Qualcomm among its investors. It also has research and development agreements with the U.S. Department of Defense, according to its filing.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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