Huawei Technologies said today it is "a little bit puzzled" by allegations that it was illegally using InterDigital's wireless patents.
Huawei was in the middle of what it thought were "good faith negotiations" with InterDigital when the claims were made, said William Plummer, vice president of external affairs for the Chinese company.
InterDigital, which develops and holds patents on a lot of valuable wireless technology, said yesterday that it filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission and a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Delaware, alleging that Huawei, along with Nokia and ZTE, were in violation of its patents related to 3G technology.
ZTE previously said it hadn't seen the complaint, and wouldn't comment. Nokia wasn't available to comment on the complaint.
Huawei, meanwhile, said it is confident in its patent position and plans to protect itself.
"We're pretty confident in terms of our leadership in intellectual-property rights and the commitment to respecting the rights of others," Plummer said. "We'll do whatever it takes to defend our interests."
He added it is premature to discuss whether the companies would cease talking.
The ITC complaint, a favored tactic of technology companies looking to throw their patent weight around, carries the threat of a ban on the importation of a company's goods. But rarely does the ban get enforced; companies typically come to an agreement.
The complaint also comes as InterDigital said last week that the company is exploring strategic alternatives, business-speak for selling itself. The value of a rich patent portfolio has never been higher; Apple and a consortium of technology companies recently paid $4.5 billion to purchase wireless patents owned by Nortel Networks.
Apple and Google have reportedly expressed interest in the patents.