MICROSOFT COULD BE forced to stop selling certain Lumia devices in the US, after the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled against the firm in an ongoing patent dispute with InterDigital.
InterDigital develops wireless technologies for mobile devices and networks, and had claimed that Microsoft infringes two of its 3G patents.
ITC judge Theodore Essex issued an initial determination ruling against Microsoft on Monday, saying that the devices in question infringe two patents held by InterDigital. It's not yet clear which Windows Phone devices are wrapped up in the suit.
Essex said in the ruling: "It is further held that the currently imported Nokia handsets contain chips that were not previously adjudicated and (2) infringe the asserted claims of US patent numbers 7,190,966 and 7,286,847."
Essex added that public interest would not prevent the ITC ordering a ban on the US import of the infringing devices.
This week's ruling still needs to be approved in a final determination by the ITC, which is expected on 28 August 2015.
Lawrence Shay, InterDigital's executive vice president of intellectual property, and chief intellectual property counsel, said: "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 licence on fair and reasonable terms."
A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement sent to Re/code: "We have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards."
InterDigital originally sued Nokia for patent infringement in 2007, but this has since fallen into Microsoft's hands following its acquisition of the firm's devices business.
The ITC originally cleared Nokia of infringement, but the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the nation’s top patent court, overturned that decision in 2012 and sent it back to the ITC.
InterDigital's sole business is licensing its patent portfolio. The firm has also filed patent lawsuits against Huawei, Samsung and ZTE. µ
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