Investors in California may be interested in finding that Microsoft has filed an antitrust lawsuit against InterDigital for patent fraud. On Aug. 20, Microsoft filed a lawsuit claiming that InterDigital was in violation of antitrust laws since it failed to honor their agreement and licence the essential mobile phone communications technology fairly. This recent lawsuit is just the latest chapter in a long lasting dispute the two companies have had over patent licensing issues.
The U.S. International Trade Commission is currently deliberating on whether or not Microsoft’s phones should be banned from being imported into the country because they violate patents InterDigital owns. InterDigital generates its main source of income from licensing patents. The patents at the center of Microsoft’s lawsuit are described as essential technologies that could be disruptive to the entire industry. These patents are typically made available to competitors if they commit to fulfilling the owner’s fair terms and reasonable consideration.
Microsoft described InterDigital’s conduct with the mobile device patents as abusive licensing practices and a violation of the U.S. anti-monopoly laws. The complaint alleges that InterDigital falsely promised to abide by reasonable terms when licensing the patents, but would then charge exorbitant rates once they became the industry standard. Microsoft also claims that InterDigital is attempting to use the potential import ban as leverage for negotiating a more favorable price for its own patents.
Business owners who find themselves headed towards contract or patent disputes typically benefit from confiding in legal counsel. A lawyer may be prepared to investigate the binding agreements and help discern the most likely outcome. Many businesses rely on counsel to head negotiations and protect the interests of the enterprise when considering new partners or agreements. Lawyers may be able to review the contracts for any terms or provisions that could adversely affect future growth or profitability.