Qualcomm, Nokia Patent Case Starts in Britain

The world’s top mobile phone maker, Nokia, said on Monday it was confident it had not infringed the two technology patents chipmaker Qualcomm had sued it for in Britain.

The case in the British High Court started on Monday.

Qualcomm is seeking an injunction that would stop Nokia selling products using the patents in Britain.

Qualcomm claims Nokia has infringed two of its European patents in Nokia’s GSM mobile phones, equipped to operate with the GPRS system.

Qualcomm has sued Nokia over the same or similar GSM patents also in the United States, Germany, France, Italy and China. None of the cases has reached a verdict or settlement.

In the first stage of the action, set to last three weeks in the London court, the judge is being asked to decide whether the two patents are valid and have been infringed.

If he rules so, a second hearing will be required to consider the rest of the case.

The claim centers on two patents, one concerned with the control of power on the radio link between the mobile telephone and the base station, and one concerned with a mechanism for discontinuous reception through which a mobile telephone conserves power and increases battery life.

Qualcomm says its patents have been infringed. However, Nokia maintains that the patents are invalid and not infringed.

“Nokia is confident the facts and the evidence presented at trial will clearly and definitively demonstrate that Qualcomm’s alleged GSM patents are invalid and not infringed,” Nokia spokeswoman Anne Eckert said.

Qualcomm, which filed the British case in May 2006, was not immediately available for comment.

The companies have been at legal loggerheads since they failed to renew a key technology licensing pact that expired on April 9. Analysts have estimated Nokia pays around $500 million to Qualcomm annually for patents and wants to cut the sum.

Last week Qualcomm won a round in a different battle with Nokia as a U.S. trade court tossed out a lawsuit asking for Qualcomm chips to be barred from the United States due to pending arbitration.

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