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Huawei settles InterDigital 3G patent dispute out of court

Huawei has settled a patent dispute with InterDigital out of court in a case that could have cost the latter millions of dollars in European Union fines.

Related: EU may impose sanctions on China’s Huawei and ZTE

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer complained to the EU back in 2012 that InterDigital had charged “exploitative” fees for the use of 3G mobile phone patents and an agreement was reportedly reached to end all lawsuits and complaints back in December 2013.

"The Commission was informed of the withdrawal of Huawei's complaint on 7 January 2014. The case has therefore been closed. There was no formal investigation," Antoine Colombani, spokesman for competition policy at the EU executive, said, according to Reuters.

If the case had been resolved by the EU’s antitrust regulators then InterDigital could have been fined up to 10 per cent of its revenues if Huawei had won – which would have been worth up to $32.5 million [£19.47 million] if taken as part of InterDigital’s revenues last year.

It’s so far unclear as to whether or not InterDigital compensated Huawei with any money or if the agreement just includes licensing for various patents that are part of InterDigital’s armoury.

Huawei’s case, which was never actually investigated by the EU, came off the back of the EU probing whether Motorola Mobility and Samsung had violated agreements to license standard essential patents to competitors on fair terms. Motorola Mobility is to receive a “prohibition decision” for its part and Samsung’s case will be settled with a formal pledge in April, according to Bloomberg.

The Chinese firm, which is the world’s third largest smartphone vendor, has defended its record when it comes to intellectual property and business collaboration, and is looking to garnish its reputation in Western economies.

Related: Huawei defends IP record, seeks more collaboration with Europe

Reports in the US in 2012 accused it of engaging in cyber espionage and it reported that it was exiting the US market to make sure it wasn’t caught in the middle of relations between the US and China.

None of this has affected the company’s fortunes on the world stage and it used MWC 2014 in Barcelona earlier this week to unveil five new products that included a couple of smartphones and a wearable smart band.