WASHINGTON – An administrative law judge
has recommended dropping a federal investigation into a
complaint by Finnish cell phone maker Nokia that Qualcomm
infringed on a wireless chip patent, Qualcomm said
Paul J. Luckern
recommended that the U.S. International Trade Commission
drop a four-week-old probe in light of pending arbitration
between the two parties related to a cross-licensing
agreement that expired April 9, San Diego-based Qualcomm
Unless the ITC decides within 30 days to review the
judge's recommendation to end the investigation, it will
take effect and the investigation will be over.
The dispute is one of almost a dozen between the San
Diego wireless giant and Nokia in a battle over how much
Nokia should pay Qualcomm for technology enabling fast
Nokia filed the complaint Aug. 16, asking the ITC to ban
the import of cell phones containing Qualcomm chips that the
phone maker alleges infringe on Nokia patents related to
performance, size and energy efficiency of wireless devices.
Qualcomm asked for arbitration last April to settle its
contract dispute with Nokia.
In a statement reacting to the administrative judge's
recommendation, Nokia said it was “disappointed.” The
company added that the “decision is due to pending
arbitration and is not based on the merits of the patent
infringement issues raised by Nokia in its complaint.”
Qualcomm, which announced the judge's recommendation in a
statement published on its Web site, did not have any
ITC officials said yesterday that they could not discuss
the decision. They said it remains confidential for several
more days because it contains proprietary company
Luckern, the ITC administrative law judge, also is
hearing an opposing claim that some Nokia chips violate
patents held by Qualcomm.
Each company is asking the ITC to ban the import of chips
or phones containing the chips made by the other company.
Qualcomm shares fell $1.07, or 2.59 percent, to close
yesterday at $40.31 on the Nasdaq. They rose 19 cents in
after-hours trading. The stock's 52-week range is
Nokia's U.S. stock was down 86 cents, or 2.28 percent, to
close at $36.78 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares rose
5 cents after hours. The 52-week range: $18.87-$38.49.