Federal Circuit Vacates International Trade Commission’s Ruling That Nokia’s Products Do Not Infringe Interdigital’s Patent

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In InterDigital Communications, LLC v. ITC, No. 10-1093 (Fed. Cir. August 1, 2012, the Federal Circuit vacated an International Trade Commission (ITC) order for non infringement of the asserted claims of two U.S. Patents against Nokia products because the ITC erred in its constructions of certain critical claim terms.

InterDigital owns the patents related to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) wireless cellular communication, in which a cellphone establishes contact with a cellular base station in order to initiate a cellphone call. CDMA allow multiple cellphones within a certain geographical area to use the same portion of the radio frequency spectrum simultaneously by a process that assigns a unique code to each communication link that is known as a CDMA channel or “spreading.” InterDigital filed a complaint with the ITC against Nokia in 2007 asserting that Nokia had violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing Wide-band CDMA handsets (Nokia Products) that infringed the ’966 and ’847 patents. An administrative law judge (ALJ) at the ITC construed the terms “code” and “increased power level” and ruled that the Nokia Products did not infringe the asserted claims of the InterDigital patents. The ALJ construed the term “code” in the claim construction portion of the order to be limited to “a spreading code or a portion of a spreading code.” In the infringement portion of his order, the ALJ found that the codes used in the Nokia Products were not spreading codes but rather “scrambling codes.” The ALJ also construed the term “increased power level” to require that the power level of the signal be increased continuously. The ALJ found that the Nokia Products did not continuously increase the power level of the code signal during the ramp-up process. On petition for review, the ITC affirmed the ALJ’s determination of no violation of section 337.

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