Vringo, a publicly-listed technology company that is famous for “protecting” its intellectual property in the mobile space, today announced it has sued Chinese mobile giant ZTE in the UK for allegedly infringing patents covering cellular network technologies.

The company says that it has filed a lawsuit in the UK High Court of Justice against the UK arm of ZTE, after it decided not to take up the offer of licensing its patents. It alleges that ZTE infringed on EU patents 1,212,919 (Relocation in a communication system); 1,166,589 (Rotating synchronization channel transmission); and 1,808,029 Inter-system hand-over of a mobile terminal operable with a first and second radio access network).

It says that ZTE’s cellular network elements all “fall within the scope of all three patents, and ZTE’s GSM/UMTS multi-mode wireless handsets also fall within the scope of the ’029 patent.”

Interestingly, it appears that Vringo is using the portfolio of 500 patents it recently acquired from Nokia for $22 million in August. All three of the patents named in the lawsuit are registered to Nokia, which retains a license for its own mobile products.

Vringo’s David L. Cohen, Head of Licensing, Litigation, and Intellectual Property at Vringo explains the reasons behind the suit:

“We believe that ZTE is aware that it requires licenses to all patents that are essential to relevant standards. Further, we believe that ZTE is familiar with systems for declaring patents to standards-setting organizations and the relevant intellectual property rights policies for those organizations, having itself declared hundreds of patents to international standards.”

At the end of September, Vringo sent a letter to ZTE “inviting” the company to license its patents. It warned the company that “if and for as long as ZTE does not make a concrete, binding offer to take a license capable of acceptance by Vringo, which would include a FRAND payment for all past infringement, and which would result in a license to Essential patents on FRAND terms, Vringo will pursue all legal remedies available.”

ZTE appears to have ignored Vringo’s letter, leading to today’s legal filing.

Image Credit: Cindy Andrie/Flickr