WASHINGTON – A federal trade judge
yesterday ruled against Qualcomm in a patent dispute with
Nokia, depriving the San Diego chip maker of additional
leverage to use in a separate, more far-reaching dispute
between the two companies.
Administrative Law Judge Paul J. Luckern rejected
Qualcomm's complaint, filed before the U.S. International
Trade Commission, which alleged that Nokia infringed on
three Qualcomm patents used to control signal power to avoid
Luckern said Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone
maker, did not violate a trade law prohibiting the import of
goods that infringe on others' patents. He said Nokia did
not infringe on two of the contested patents, while a third
patent was invalid.
Qualcomm had asked the ITC to ban the import of Nokia
wireless devices using global system for mobile
communications, or GSM technology, which Qualcomm said
infringed on its patents.
Qualcomm plans to petition the ITC to review Luckern's
decision, the company said. The ruling could be changed by
the full commission, which has set a review deadline of
Analysts said yesterday's decision could be seen as a
plus for consumers, since a trade ban would have reduced the
availability of some cell phones.
They said Qualcomm was hoping for a win to increase its
leverage over Espoo, Finland-based Nokia in a dispute over a
cross-licensing agreement that expired in April.
Among other items, the two companies cannot agree on how
much Nokia should pay Qualcomm for a new generation of
Michael Cohen, an analyst for Pacific American Securities
in San Diego, doubts the ITC will reverse Luckern's order.
“I don't expect Qualcomm to cave in here, so I think what
this means for investors is we probably have a long wait
before there's some sort of resolution in the dispute
between Qualcomm and Nokia,” he added.
In a statement, Qualcomm pointed out that the judge's
decision does not address the company's wideband Code
Division Multiple Access technology, an advanced technology
that increases the speed at which handsets can transfer data
from the Internet.
Nokia applauded the judge's initial determination and
said it hoped it boded well for other cases pending between
the two companies.
The ITC posted the decision after the close of regular
trading. Qualcomm shares, which had risen 83 cents to $41.01
during the trading day on the Nasdaq, fell 81 cents in
Nokia, traded as American Depositary Shares on the New
York Stock Exchange, rose 54 cents to close at $39.55 during
regular trading hours. The stock was unchanged after hours.