The US International Trade Commission has found Microsoft smartphones to have infringed on patents owned by a company known as InterDigital. These patents concern the regulation of power within the device to reduce signal interference and, more importantly, the charge was originally brought against Nokia.
InterDigital had accused Nokia of infringing its patents back in 2007, although an ITC judge had originally cleared the Finnish company of any wrongdoing. However, the US Court of Appeal overturned the judgement in 2012; sending the case back for review with the ITC. This time, the new owners of Nokia’s devices division have been found to have infringed on the patents.
Companies usually apply to the ITC for import bans on products, an act that would prevent Microsoft from selling its smartphones in America. The judge has already said that it would not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft devices from import into the United States.
This ruling generally has no effect on markets outside the US, although it is only adding to the problems faced by Microsoft’s devices division. The ITC it still carrying out its review of the matter, and is not expected to finish before August. Microsoft has called it only one step in the process, and InterDigital has said that it looks forward to discussions for Microsoft to license its patents.