San Diego Union Tribune

October 20, 2007

Judge advises dropping probe of Qualcomm
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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 yesterday.

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 said.

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 Internet access.

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 additional comment.

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 information.

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 $34.35-$47.72.

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.