Ahead of Monday's expiration of a significant licensing agreement between the companies, Nokia and Qualcomm continue to jockey for position in their ongoing patent spat. Earlier in the week, Qualcomm filed two more lawsuits, but Nokia announced today it paid Qualcomm $20 million to cover second-quarter royalties for a group of Qualcomm UMTS patents provided through the European standards group ETSI. The company notes that these patents are unrelated to the CDMA and WCDMA patents at the heart of the bigger dispute, but some analysts say this announcement is significant because it not only signals how much the company is willing to pay, but also because it could help Nokia ward off claims of willful infringement that could subject it to heavy punitive damages should it lose in court. With so much at stake for both companies, some sort of settlement seems inevitable, and it's hard not to see Qualcomm as being on the back foot here, since the best result it can hope for is a continuation of the current royalty rate of 4.5 percent. But that seems very unlikely, particularly as Nokia is quick to note that not only does the licensing agreement expire on Monday, but it's also now fully paid-up on a lot of Qualcomm's 2G CDMA patents.
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