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Nokia Takes Qualcomm to Court

Nokia upped the pressure on Qualcomm Wednesday in its long-running patent-licensing dispute with the company.

In what it characterized as a "defensive move," Nokia  filed a complaint in a Delaware court seeking to force Qualcomm  to abide by its international obligations to license technology essential to mobile phones.

The San Diego-based Qualcomm is a major supplier of mobile phone chips while the Finnish Nokia is the world's largest mobile phone maker.

Nokia wants the court to order Qualcomm to engage in negotiations for its GSM and UMTS technology on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms."

Nokia also wants the court to affirm that Qualcomm is not entitled to injunctive relief in relation to alleged infringement of patents declared essential to a standard.

Qualcomm, for its part, has pending lawsuits against Nokia in the U.S. and the U.K., as well as the U.S. International Trade Commission, claiming Nokia is infringing on Qualcomm's GSM technology.

"This is defensive on our part," Bill Plummer, Nokia's vice president for communications, told internetnews.com.

"We want the court to confirm the terms for future negotiations and order them [Qualcomm] to honor their contract obligations."

Qualcomm did not return calls seeking comment on Nokia's complaint.

In April, Qualcomm admitted that negotiations for renewing licensing agreements with Nokia were faltering.

"There is no certainty as to when we will be able to conclude an agreement [with Nokia] or the terms of any such agreement .... There is also a possibility that the parties will not be able to conclude a new or extended agreement by April 2007," Qualcomm declared in a Securities and Exchange filing.

The standoff ultimately resulted in Nokia's court action.

While Nokia and Qualcomm continue to spar in court, optical networking firm Ciena and its rival, Nortel, announced Tuesday they had settled their patent battle over optical transport technology.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both companies agreed to let each other use the technology at the core of their dispute.

Ciena sued Nortel in 2005. Nortel sued Ciena earlier this year.