ITC Rejects InterDigital’s (IDCC) Patent Case Against Microsoft (MSFT) – Report

Phone-chip researcher InterDigital, Inc. (IDCC) has lost its patent case against Nokia and ZTE Corp. at the U.S. International Trade Commission [ITC], Bloomberg reports. The rejection is another blow in the company’s efforts to receive patent royalty payments on sales of Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) phones. Since Microsoft (MSFT) acquired Nokia’s Devices division in April, it told the agency it would assume all of Nokia’s liabilities and have “sole control over the defense, including sole authority to resolve this action.”

Nokia phones, now made by Microsoft Corp. and devices by ZTE didn’t violate InterDigital patent rights, the ITC said in a notice on its website.

This was the third case InterDigital had filed at the Washington-based ITC over the latest generation of mobile phones since 2007. According to B’berg, the phone-chip researcher got almost all of its $325 million in sales during fiscal 2012 from patent licensing with companies such as BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) and HTC Corp.

“The commission’s decision is disappointing, running contrary to a number of judicial decisions involving, in some instances, the exact same patents as in this case,” InterDigital Chief Executive Officer William Merritt said in a statement. “We do not feel this decision will have any meaningful impact on our progress towards our licensing goals.”

David Cuddy, a Microsoft spokesman, said “InterDigital is trying to block our products based on patents it openly promised the industry could use at reasonable rates. We’re grateful the commission has now confirmed that we don’t even use these patents in our products.”

InterDigital pledged to appeal.

IDCC dropped 3.29% to $41.47 in pre-market trading. Through Thursday’s close, ticker was up about 19% y/y and 45.41% ytd. Microsoft’s shares rose about 0.14% to $44.33 in extended trading, after closing at $44.27 on Thursday.

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