Qualcomm Loses another Legal Fight with Nokia

Mobile technology company Qualcomm lost another legal fight with Nokia. A British court ruled today that Qualcomm’s claim of patent infringement against handset maker Nokia were invalid. The U.K. High Court said Nokia had not infringed on patents regarding GSM mobile phone standards.

Qualcomm has been trying to bring an injunction against Nokia that would keep it from selling products using the GSM patents in the United Kingdom. GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communications, is the world’s dominant second-generation mobile phone technology standard.

Over the last two years, Qualcomm has filed 11 lawsuits in courts around the world. Qualcomm has yet to win a lawsuit against Nokia on the GSM issue.

”We are pleased with the Court’s decision that the patent claims are invalid and believe it is consistent with and supported by the facts,” said Nokia Chief Financial Officer Rick Simonson. ”This is the second court to conclude that Qualcomm does not have relevant and valid GSM patents.”

In February, the U.S. International Trade Commission refused Qualcomm’s petition for a review on an earlier decision, which said Nokia hadn’t infringed on three patents, as claimed by Qualcomm.

The two mobile phone technology companies have fought in court over patent-licensing agreements that expired in April, 2007. Qualcomm charges patent royalties for its technology to mobile phone manufacturers. Nokia and other phone makers claim the royalties are excessive.

Richard Windsor, an analyst at Japanese investment bank Nomura, said the legal battle will shift to a Delaware Court and a 3G patent dispute. Legal arguments are expected to begin this summer.

”Qualcomm is weak in GSM and we think it has been deploying a strategy of firing out legal long-shots,” said Windsor. ”The hope is that a victory in one of these cases will bring Nokia to the negotiating table, but, so far, it’s not achieved this.”
”The main focus now is going to be the Delaware case in July,” said Windsor. ”However, it’s our view that Qualcomm is unlikely to prevail in that case either.”