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Huawei files an antitrust complaint against Interdigital over 3G patents

Claims abuse and an exploitable license
Fri May 25 2012, 11:11
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NETWORKING EQUIPMENT VENDOR Huawei has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Interdigital, claiming it is abusing its 3G patents.

Interdigital holds a number of 3G patents and Huawei, like many other network equipment firms, is forced to license them. However Huawei now claims that Interdigital is trying to "force Huawei to conclude a discriminatory, unfair and exploitative license", which has led the firm to file an antitrust complaint against Interdigital with the European Commission.

Huawei said in a statement, "In both the terms and scope, Interdigital's demand manifestly breaches the policies of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute calling for fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing practices by technology patent holders, and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Commission."

According to Huawei, it has been trying to negotiate a deal with Interdigital but said it became clear that "there is no foreseeable resolution", at which time Huawei went to the European Commission.

Interdigital on the other hand responded to Huawei by saying it had licensed its patents to a number of companies, claiming that is evidence that the firm has the "ability to reach mutually agreeable terms for such licenses". Lawrence Shay, president of InterDigital's patent holding subsidiaries said of Huawei's complaint, "Interdigital has not seen the complaint that was filed, so we can offer no specific response to whatever issues might be raised in the complaint."

Huawei's decision to file an antitrust complaint with the European Union could be seen as the final move in the two firms' negotiations, as neither party will want to end up with a long and protracted legal battle over patent licensing. The question is whether Interdigital will buckle now that the European Union is involved, and whether other firms can use such an action as a battering ram when it comes to patent licensing negotiations in the future. µ


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