Sony Sued By Wi-LAN For Patent Infringement In China [Video]


Sony is being sued in China by a Canadian company due to patent infringement.

The case filed by the Ontario-based company last week could prevent Sony from selling LTE-standard handsets not only to the world's largest markets, but also potentially to prevent it from exporting the said LTE handsets from China. Although Sony's market share is negligible in China, it remains a prized manufacturing base after Sony closed down its manufacturing facilities in Brazil.

The Canadian entity, Wi-LAN, is a small wireless company that has already stopped its operations but still retains patents in wireless technology that it continues to derive its source of income from. Considered as a "non-practicing entity," (NPE), companies such these are known as "patent trolls."

The case is a first for China wherein a foreign NPE is suing another foreign company. The case was filed by its subsidiary, Wireless Futures Technologies based in Delaware. The case stems from two years of alleged unproductive talks, Financial Times reported. Reportedly, Wi-LAN also filed a case against Sony in Germany but Sony issued no comment in the case.

In 2014, Wi-LAN lost to Apple in a similar LTE case it filed in 2012, where it was deemed in California that Wi-LAN's claims are invalid and its patents were not infringed.

The company has a history of suing big corporations for allegedly infringing on its patents. Back in 2010, Wi-LAN sued almost every major mobile and laptop manufacturer in the market, which included big names such as Apple, Toshiba, Dell, Intel, LG, Acer, Motorola, Texas Instruments and Sony, for allegedly infringing Wi-LANs U.S. Patent No. 5515369 A issued in 1996. The suit covers the production and/or selling of various products that employ Bluetooth technology, TechCrunch reported.

In 2007, Wi-LAN sued 22 different companies for allegedly violating its patent for Wi-Fi and DSL technology used in Laptops and routers, wherein it was further expanded in 2008 against wireless handset manufacturers and have been on the court since 2011.

Wi-LAN in 2002 sued Redline Communications back in 2002 for allegedly using a wireless networking technology Wi-LAN held the patent for. The case was settled out of court 2 years after and then it ran after network giant Cisco Systems over the same allegation.

 According to c|net, Wi-LAN owns patents to more than 800 devices, some are developed in-house and the others came from licensing from outside companies.

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