Nokia case against Qualcomm in ITC declared 'finished'

It would appear infringement cases against Qualcomm by Nokia are unraveling all over the world, as a judge upholds a decision last month to dismiss an ITC proceeding in the US.

US International Trade Commission spokesperson John Greer is quoted by Reuters this afternoon as saying, "The case is finished at the ITC," referring to an administrative judge's ruling today effectively upholding last month's dismissal of Nokia's infringement claims against Qualcomm.

The fight itself between the two companies is far from over; in fact, it's the fact that they're fighting in another court on the same matter that prompted the ITC to dismiss the case there. It doesn't have jurisdictional authority over a US district court, and perhaps Nokia should have thought of that before seeking an injunction from the ITC against the sale of handsets with Qualcomm parts in the US.

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In case the fight has become so complex that the subject has become forgotten, the spat erupted last spring when Nokia claimed Qualcomm owed it substantial royalties for use of its WCDMA/UMTS patents. Nokia still argues that in civil court, which is partly why the ITC can't impose an injunction now.

Analysts today speculated on the possibility that the two companies could emerge from arbitration with a new royalties agreement, where Qualcomm still pays Nokia but ends up paying less than before - perhaps a 2% royalty on sales rather than the current 4%.

Today's news wraps up a trifecta for Qualcomm. Last week, a court in The Hague threw out a claim by Nokia that Qualcomm had exhausted its right to enforce its patents there, with regard to chips sold by Texas Instruments in the Netherlands in 2000. The court there said Nokia's claims were too vague and non-specific. Three weeks earlier, a German court dismissed the same claim, for the same reason.

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