It's not a common occurrence for both sides of a court case to be pleased with His / Her Honor's decision, particularly in the appeal-plagued world of wireless patent law. Well, here's a little breath of fresh air: both Nokia and InterDigital are declaring victory in a ruling put forth by a London High Court, saying that "most" of InterDigital's patents aren't essential to the UMTS standard. Why's InterDigital so amped, then? Turns out that the court did
declare one of its patents to be essential, which appears to be the first time that any court has ever declared a company's patent to be inseparable from UMTS itself, the world's predominant 3G standard. The whole ruling stems from a complaint filed by Nokia way back in 2005 as a proactive attack against a potential (and at that time, purely theoretical) InterDigital lawsuit over patent infringement; sure enough, InterDigital ended up filing a motion with the ITC
not long ago that prompted an investigation, though this latest court action might throw a wet towel on that whole business. Then again, that one pesky patent that the court left untouched could end up causing a lot of trouble for Nokia -- and any other 3G handset manufacturer, for that matter -- that doesn't care to cough up the licensing fees.