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Nokia files suit against Qualcomm

But this time it's in the US

Nokia has filed a complaint in a US court to force Qualcomm to license its intellectual property based on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and asked the court to help the two companies clarify what constitutes such terms.

The request, made public by Nokia today, is the latest in an ongoing battle between the companies leading up to the expiration of their existing patent licensing deal early next year.

Nokia filed the complaint in the Delaware Court of Chancery, which hears disputes about internal affairs of companies. The complaint asks the court to order Qualcomm to comply with its written agreement with international standards bodies to license intellectual property essential to GSM (global system for mobile communications) and UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications system) on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.

Typically, companies that participate in the standards-setting process agree to such terms when submitting their intellectual property for inclusion in the standards. Qualcomm is known for the invention of CDMA (code division multiple access), a technology that contributes to the UMTS standard. Qualcomm recently said that CDMA competitor GSM has evolved such that it now infringes on some of its CDMA patents.

Nokia and Qualcomm have different views on what constitutes fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, Nokia said, so the handset maker is also asking the court for help defining the elements of such terms.

Nokia also asked the court to rule that Qualcomm is not entitled to relief based on its allegations that Nokia infringed patents. In a suit filed in the UK, Qualcomm alleges that Nokia infringes some of its patents and asks the court to require Nokia to pay for patent infringement in phones already sold.

Nokia made the complaints at the Court of Chancery in an effort to create a single forum for addressing its issues with Qualcomm. In addition to the UK suit, Qualcomm has also filed suit against Nokia in a US Federal Court and with the US International Trade Commission, which has launched an investigation.

Along with a handful of other mobile phone companies, Nokia has submitted a complaint with the European Union, charging Qualcomm with anticompetitive behavior. Nokia also recently decided against pursuing a previously announced joint venture with Sanyo that was to develop and sell CDMA phones and said it would essentially exit the CDMA market.


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