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Microsoft wins 8-year patent battle over Nokia handsets

Microsoft has been cleared of patent infringement by the US International Trade Commission. The case dates back to 2007 when InterDigital Inc claimed Microsoft infringed its patents, and there were calls for a ban on the import of handsets.

InterDigital Inc has been battling in court for eight years, initially trying to claim royalties on phones made by Nokia, now transferred to Microsoft. As well as blocking the call for an import ban, the ITC stated that Microsoft did not infringe patents relating to the way mobiles make calls. In short Microsoft is in the clear and InterDigital's rights have not been violated.

InterDigital CEO William J. Merritt responded to the ruling in with a bittersweet swipe at Microsoft. He said: "[the] 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."

In a statement, Microsoft said:

We're grateful the Commission stopped InterDigital from trying to block our products. We'll continue to pursue our separate suit addressing InterDigital's unlawful conduct and abusive patent licensing scheme.

InterDigital stock slumped in reaction to the announcement, but it's not clear just how much of a difference - if any - the decision will make to Microsoft's ability to claw its way back to greater significance in the smartphone market as it prepare to launch Windows 10 for phones.

Photo credit: OlegDoroshin / Shutterstock