Time for sharp competitive intelligence

Qualcomm Inc won a round in its patent battles with wireless phone maker Nokia on Wednesday as a U.S. trade court tossed out a lawsuit asking for Qualcomm’s chips to be barred from the United States.

The U.S. International Trade Commission dropped the Nokia lawsuit due to pending arbitration, the commission said. “The case is finished at the ITC,” said ITC staffer John Greer.

Nokia had alleged infringement of patents on technology that made its telephones smaller and more efficient. Nokia had requested the ITC bar the importation of the infringing chips.

An ITC administrative law judge granted Qualcomm’s motion to dismiss the suit on October 18. Nokia protested, requesting a review of the decision, but the commission upheld it.

“Nokia is disappointed in the ruling but the decision is based on the pending arbitration and not the merits of the case,” said Nokia spokeswoman Laurie Armstrong.

Alex Rogers, Qualcomm’s senior vice president, legal counsel, said Nokia had been barred from filing patent lawsuits against Qualcomm because of arbitration underway in Los Angeles.

The arbitration petition was filed in April, Rogers said in a telephone interview, while ITC documents show the trade court opened its investigation into the Nokia suit in September.

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