Nokia / InterDigital patent drama continues with ITC ruling in Espoo's favor

Corporate legal teams are so large, so powerful, and often so evenly-matched that when you combine them with the glacial wheels of justice, patent disputes can take years to resolve -- in fact, we'd say it's the rule rather than the exception -- and inevitably, they end in anticlimactic fashion with the alleged offender agreeing to shell out some fraction of the plaintiff's original request in exchange for sweeping the whole matter under the rug. Nokia's had its fair share of such spats, and one that's been dogging the company for a good long while now is with InterDigital, which has been systematically targeting firms in the industry for years with claims that it holds patents inherently required for UMTS -- in other words, if you make UMTS gear, you automatically owe InterDigital money. Of course, Nokia has been politely disagreeing with that claim all along, and the US International Trade Commission has just issued an initial determination in its favor, saying that it doesn't violate the four patents InterDigital's all worked up over. For the record, the US ITC has been investigating this issue for a solid two years now, so yeah, if someone's ripping off your IP, don't expect a speedy resolution. The commission's initial determination will be followed by a final, binding determination this December; in the meantime; Espoo "will continue to present its case." Now that we think about it, we're pretty sure we saw this episode of Law & Order already.