The Internet and wire services are abuzz on December 16 with the latest update on the InterDigital saga. InterDigital’s executives will reportedly not travel to China to meet with the National Development and Reform Commission(NDRC) to discuss the alleged violation of China’s Anti-monopoly Law. InterDigital apparently has been told by NDRC that it would not ensure the safety of any executives sent in place of InterDigital’s CEO, and that they could be arrested or detained. InterDigital’s CEO stated that “we are simply unable to comply with any investigation that is accompanied by a threat to the safety of our executives.” According to CNET, the proposed meeting with NDRC was to be held on December 18, scheduled one day before ITC’s target day to decide the IP issues against Huawei and ZTE.
China’s ability to detain foreigners during pendency of civil, criminal and administrative matters, including IP issues has long been a matter of concern. It is, however, unclear from these reports, what is the legal basis for these threats.