Judge Orders Stay For Qualcomm-Nokia Patent Suit

One of the ongoing stories in the background of the mobile industry are the patent and licensing disputes between Nokia and Qualcomm. The companies have several different legal battles going on, which are generally regarded as maneuvering around the bigger issue of the April expiration of a Nokia license of certain Qualcomm patents, which Nokia needs to be able to sell 3G and other devices. This is a big deal for both companies — Nokia obviously needs the license, and Qualcomm needs the revenue such a deal delivers — but as yet, they’ve been unable (or unwilling) to come to an agreement, apparently preferring to engage in tit-for-tat lawsuits and complaints to different regulators and government bodies. One such complaint was made by Qualcomm, to the International Trade Commission last June. It alleged Nokia was infringing upon six of its patents, and among other things, Qualcomm wanted the import of certain Nokia products to the US banned. However, today the judge in the case has ordered an indefinite stay in the case, just a week before the trial was due to begin. The judge didn’t share any particular reason for ordering the stay, but Nokia says it’s probably because of some of the actions it has taken to defend itself. Qualcomm had already withdrawn three of the six patents from the complaint, while Nokia (of course) maintains it’s done nothing wrong. This is a slightly curious development, but in the run-up to the April expiration, it seems likely that there will be plenty more legal shuffling before the inevitable agreement is made.

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