Huawei files EU antitrust complaint against InterDigital

Huawei has filed an EU antitrust complaint against InterDigital to end its "abuse" of the allegedly standards-essential patents it controls. The company has urged the commission to examine its demands, which are considered too hefty to come under the protection of FRAND terms. The shoe normally resides on the other foot, with InterDigital previously instigating battles with Nokia, Samsung and ZTE. This time, it looks like the Chinese giant was tired of being pushed around by what it's derisorily called a non-practicing entity -- which we've taken to be a polite euphemism.

Update: InterDigital has released a statement, which we've included after the break.

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InterDigital Responds to Reports of Huawei European Commission Complaint

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDCC) issued the following response to the announcement by Huawei that they filed a complaint with the European Commission, claiming abuse of patents essential to the 3G (UMTS) standard:

"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," said Lawrence Shay, President of InterDigital's patent holding subsidiaries. "InterDigital has over 200 engineers in four research and development facilities, and participates with engineers from a broad range of industry leaders in developing and testing innovative technologies that become wireless standards. We have in the past licensed, and continue to license, technologies on the terms set forth in our commitments to those standards bodies. Our long and successful track record of licensing more than 50 companies throughout the mobile industry is proof of that commitment, and of our ability to reach mutually agreeable terms for such licenses."

Over the past three decades, InterDigital's R&D team has developed fundamental wireless technologies that have shaped the cellular industry, and has built a portfolio of over 19,500 patents and patent applications as of December 31, 2011.

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Huawei Files Complaint against InterDigital for Patent Abuse

Brussels, Belgium, 24 May, 2012: Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, has yesterday filed an anti-trust complaint with the European Commission against US-based InterDigital in which it urges the Commission to intervene to end InterDigital's abuses of its patents allegedly essential to the 3G (UMTS) standard.

As a non-practicing entity, InterDigital is seeking to leverage its declared 3G standard essential patents to force Huawei to conclude a discriminatory, unfair and exploitative license. 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.

Huawei has been negotiating to reach an agreement with InterDigital on licensing fees for mobile devices. As it is now clear that there is no foreseeable resolution, Huawei decided to file this complaint.

Huawei adheres to the principle of respecting the intellectual property rights of any third party, and maintains its position as an ICT leader through continuous innovation. In 2011, Huawei invested US$3.76 billion in R&D, and by December 2011, Huawei had filed 57,972 patent applications in aggregate, 23,522 of which had been granted.