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Qualcomm likely to avoid another chip ban

Judge recommends halting investigation stemming from Nokia's complaint to the ITC that Qualcomm chips infringe on patents.

Qualcomm has likely dodged a bullet that could have halted the import of some of its chips into the United States.

On Friday, the company said a judge recommended putting an end to an investigation conducted by the U.S. International Trade Commission that is looking into complaints filed by handset maker Nokia against Qualcomm.

Nokia, which sells more mobile phones than any other manufacturer in the world, asked the ITC in August to ban imports of phones that included Qualcomm chips that Nokia says infringe on its patents. The patents are related to technology that enhances device performance, lowers manufacturing costs and improves battery life.

Nokia and Qualcomm have been duking it out in the courtroom for several months after the companies failed to renew a licensing agreement that expired in April.

ITC Administrative Law Judge Paul Luckern recommended that the investigation end because the companies are already in arbitration to settle the dispute, Qualcomm said in a statement. The ITC has 30 days to review the decision. If the decision stands, the investigation will be terminated and Qualcomm will continue to be allowed to import its chips into the United States.

The judge's recommendation comes a few months after the ITC ruled that imports of Qualcomm chips that infringe on a patent from Broadcom would be banned from entering the U.S. The ban has been partially stayed while Qualcomm appeals the case. But service providers such as Verizon Wireless, which use Qualcomm chips in many of the cell phones they sell, has made a separate deal with Broadcom to ensure that phones on the Verizon network still make it into the country.