U.S. District Judge Rejects Samsung's Attempt to Invalidate Huawei Patents in Lawsuit over Licensing
Last Monday Huawei Technologies won an early skirmish in its smartphone patent war with Samsung Electronics. U.S. District Judge William Orrick of San Francisco rejected Samsung's attempt to invalidate two of the 11 patents asserted by Huawei for claiming ineligible subject matter.
According to a California legal issues publication, "The patents claim improvements on procedures for reducing signal interference when a mobile device connects to a cellular network. Samsung had argued that the patents claim nothing more than mathematical formulas, making them unpatentable under Section 101 of the Patent Act, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in its Alice decision.
Orrick disagreed. He pointed to a decision last month from U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson of Delaware that characterized similar patent claims as "specific solutions to improve mobile device functionality."
"As in Evolved Wireless, I find that the '892 Patent claims are directed to a specific improvement in cellular communications, and not an abstract idea or mathematical formula," Orrick wrote in Huawei v. Samsung. "Thus, the claims are not directed to a patent-ineligible concept under Alice step one, and the analysis ends there."
Huawei's second patent presented a closer call, but Orrick ruled it eligible too because it's tied to the concrete structure of a mobile device and it does not broadly pre-empt similar patent claims.
Huawei, the world's No. 3 smartphone maker, sued No. 1 Samsung for patent infringement and failing to license its standard-essential 3GPP and LTE patents on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.
"Huawei is pleased with the court's decision," said company spokesman Bill Plumer. "It confirms the strength of the patents in Huawei's standard essential patent portfolio and underscores the need for Samsung to license the portfolio on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms."
Samsung says that Huawei is trying to force it to enter into a global cross-license at terms that "grossly exceed" what is fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory.
Huawei is suing for an injunction in China while at the same time seeking a declaratory judgment from Orrick that would block Samsung from seeking the same relief in the United States, Samsung says.
Huawei's efforts "threaten to interrupt Samsung's ability to supply smartphones in the United States and around the world," Samsung warned in an August filing."