InterDigital Inc has violated U.S. antitrust law by failing to keep its promise to fairly license its technology considered essential to mobile phone communications, Microsoft Corp said in a lawsuit on Thursday.
The complaint against InterDigital, filed in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, deepens a long-standing fight over patent licensing between the two companies.
It comes as the U.S. International Trade Commission is set to rule this month on whether Microsoft smartphones should be banned from being imported into the United States for infringing two of InterDigital’s patents.
Wilmington is the home base of InterDigital, which makes money through the licensing of patents.
The lawsuit concerns patents considered to be critical to technologies that may be widely adopted in an industry. Owners of these kinds of patents typically commit to licensing them to competitors at a reasonable rate and on fair terms.
Microsoft alleged InterDigital’s “abusive licensing practices” over its standard, essential patents violate federal anti-monopoly laws.
InterDigital “falsely promised” to license these patents on reasonable terms so they would be accepted as industry standards but then charged exorbitant rates, Microsoft said in the complaint.
A Microsoft spokesman said this “violates its commitments and hurts consumers and competition.”
A representative for InterDigital had no comment.