Qualcomm's dispute with Nokia heats up

Jun 12, 2006

The legal team at Qualcomm is gearing up for a battle on multiple fronts. On one hand, the San Diego-based mobile communications group has filed yet another lawsuit Monday against Finland's Nokia with the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging that the company has violated a number of patents. Over the past eight months, Qualcomm has taken legal action against Nokia a total of three times, and the company had already pressed similar charges against Nokia in Britain.

At the same time, however, Qualcomm is expected to face charges soon from the European Commission that pricing on its licensing fees have been unfair.

Qualcomm's technology is key to setting up the CDMA, or code division multiple access system, network which is critical for mobile phones. CDMA competes head-on with GSM technology, and it was a major coup for the company when European countries decided in the 1990s to adopt the CDMA system rather than GSM for third-generation mobile phones.

The problem, however, is that while Qualcomm has a lock of many of the technologies needed for CDMA, some telecom companies including Nokia as well as Ericsson and NEC have complained that the company has not adhered to its promise of licensing its patents on acceptable terms that were initially agreed upon.

For its part, though, Qualcomm has called upon the U.S. government to stop importing certain Nokia products as it argued it has been offering Nokia licenses under fair terms, and yet the Finnish company has been declining the offers.

"Qualcomm has offered to license its essential patents for Nokia's GSM/GPRS/EDGE products under terms that are fair, reasonable and free from unfair discrimination. Nokia has refused this offer and continued to sell infringing products around the world, leaving Qualcomm no choice but to enforce its patent rights through legal proceedings," the San Diego company stated, adding that Nokia has "engaged in unfair trade practices by the importation and sale of certain mobile telephone handsets, wireless communication devices and components that infringe one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents."

While Nokia has yet to comment directly on the latest filing, one thing is clear: The current licensing agreement whereby Nokia pays royalties to Qualcomm will expire in April 2007, and the two companies will need to agree to either extend or replace that deal soon.

For its part, though, Nokia suggested that one reason Qualcomm was stepping up taking legal action was because it is beginning to lose its indisputable edge in the market.

"These repetitive legal actions, over GSM technologies that have been in the market for many years, reflect Qualcomm's concern over the current 3G UMTS patent negotiations. These actions demonstrate that the conditions applicable to ongoing negotiations between Nokia and Qualcomm have substantially changed since the early 1990's. At that time Qualcomm held a dominant patent position in IS-95 standard and was able to impose that position on the industry," Nokia said.

The investigation by U.S. authorities is expected to start in July, and Qualcomm anticipates the case to be heard by the first half of next year.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Qualcomm posts 2nd-qtr loss on legal settlement

Apr 27, 2009

(AP) -- Qualcomm Inc. posted a fiscal second-quarter loss Monday on a hefty payment to rival chip maker Broadcom Corp. to end legal disputes that spanned several continents.

Globe Talk: Qualcomm fights claims

Nov 11, 2005

Qualcomm's decision earlier this week to fight back against its rivals on allegations of manipulating international cellular phone markets is turning uglier by the day, but whether the legal spat will actually benefit consumers ...

Recommended for you

China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

2 hours ago

China's top smartphone seller Xiaomi Corp. is raising more than $1 billion in a fresh round of funding, a move which would raise its valuation above $45 billion, a report said Sunday.

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

23 hours ago

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

Dec 20, 2014

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

Dec 20, 2014

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

Dec 19, 2014

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.