Friday, May 24, 2013

Discovered: Nokia seeking U.S. import ban against HTC One in new (second) ITC complaint

I just reported on Nokia's new RFID-related U.S. patent infringement lawsuit against HTC in the Southern District of California, which others also discovered (Bloomberg, Priorsmart). What others haven't noticed yet -- but will presumably notice later today -- is that Nokia has also filed a second ITC complaint against HTC. Unlike the San Diego complaint, the ITC complaint hasn't become publicly available yet, but on the ITC's electronic document system I found this list of confidential exhibits filed by the Alston & Bird firm on Nokia's behalf (click on the image to enlarge):

The titles of those 20 attachments provide the following indications:

  • The complaint involves at least two patents, the numbers of which end with '345 and '945 (Exhibits 015, 017, 042, and 044). The San Diego complaint is not a companion (mirror) lawsuit of the ITC complaint but both complaints involve different patents.

  • The HTC One is one of the accused devices (Exhibit 026).

  • Broadcom (Exhibit 022) and Qualcomm (Exhibit 047) chips are key to the infringement allegations.

  • Like the Southern California filing this one appears to relate to radio frequency stuff (Exhibits 026 and 053), presumably RFID like in the federal lawsuit.

This filing comes a week before the trial in the investigation of Nokia's first complaint against HTC, which it brought in May 2012.

This is reminiscent of Nokia's litigation tactics against Apple. In March 2011 it also brought a second ITC complaint (in that case, after the trial in the first investigation, but also prior to a final ruling). Three months later, these parties settled (the fact that Nokia was making considerable headway in Mannheim, Germany, with rulings scheduled for the week following the settlement, may have played a far greater role than that second ITC complaint).

UPDATE: List of asserted patents

Subsequently to publishing this post I obtained a list of the six patents asserted in Nokia's new ITC complaint:

  1. U.S. Patent No. 6,035,189 on a "method for using services offered by a telecommunication network, a telecommunication system and a terminal for it"

    Nokia' infringement allegation relates to the ability of HTC Android devices to install new features on the phone, such as through the Google Play store, likely to trigger an intervention by Google like in the already-ongoing ITC investigation

  2. U.S. Patent No. 6,373,345 on a "modulator structure for a transmitter and a mobile station"

    The objective of this invention is to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio for mobile transmissions of speech and other data. A workaround may result in a degradation of speech quality and data speeds.

  3. U.S. Patent No. 6,711,211 on a "method for encoding and decoding video information, a motion compensated video encoder and a corresponding decoder"

    Nokia alleges that VP8, among other video codecs, infringes this patent. I'll do a separate post on this. This is another patent likely to result in a Google intervention.

  4. U.S. Patent No. 7,187,945 on a "versatile antenna switch architecture"

    This is about compact but multi-frequency-capable radio frequency (RF) components.

  5. U.S. Patent No. 8,140,650 on "use of configurations in device with multiple configurations"

    Nokia alleges that HTC uses the claimed invention to manage app-specific permissions in a convenient and secure manner.

  6. U.S. Patent No. 8,363,824 on a "portable electronic device"

    This has to do with the layout of components inside a phone, allowing an appealing design and high performance at the same time, and Nokia believes this reads on (among other things) unibody handsets.

With this week's nine new patents-in-suit (six patents at the ITC, three in the Southern District of California), the number of patents Nokia has in action against HTC totals 50.

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