Microsoft has avoided a potentially huge setback to its mobile handset business, after the International Trade Commission decided not to block imports of its devices as part of a long-running patent dispute with InterDigital.
The decision on Aug. 28 turned back a ruling in April that deemed that Microsoft had in fact infringed upon two InterDigital patents, a ruling that would have resulted in a U.S. import ban on Microsoft-made Nokia phones.
The decision is certainly good news for Microsoft, which has been struggling in its mobile business against the likes of Apple and Google for a number of years. Of course, the decision isn't so good for InterDigital.
"Today's decision is disappointing but is expected to have a limited impact on our going-forward business, given the decline of the Nokia mobile device business under Microsoft's control and its limited market position," said William J. Merritt, CEO of InterDigital, in a statement. "InterDigital will continue to seek compensation for past infringement and the further unlicensed use of our contributions to wireless mobile communication standards."
Following the decision, InterDigital's stock was down 3 percent. The issue is amplified because of the fact that the patents owned by InterDigital are considered essential to how smartphones work. InterDigital says that it will continue to seek compensation for past infringements.
The case itself was first filed in 2007, long before Nokia's handset business was sold to Microsoft in 2014.
The decision found that Microsoft did not violate InterDigital's rights. However, the ITC did not address whether or not InterDigital had offered licenses to its patents on fair terms.