Nokia Stumbles in Patent Dispute

Nokia (NOK), the world’s largest cellphone maker, has lost a legal battle to avoid defending itself at the U.S. International Trade Commission against a patent-infringement lawsuit by InterDigital.

InterDigital, of King of Prussia, Pa., has received more than $1.5 billion from its wireless patents and has issued licenses for technology used in Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and Research In Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry devices.

But the company has gone to court to sign up the biggest cellphone makers by sales, such as Nokia and Samsung Electronics, which agreed to pay InterDigital $400 million on the eve of a November decision by the ITC. The ITC has the power to ban imports of products containing infringing technologies.

In a little-noticed decision on Thursday, a U.S. judge in the Southern District of New York denied Nokia’s request to force InterDigital to arbitrate its dispute, rather than proceeding against Nokia at the ITC. Nokia claimed that the technologies at issue were covered in earlier contracts that stipulated arbitration to resolve conflicts.

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