Nokia-Qualcomm patent brawl suspended

Dispute temporarily cools after judge halts International Trade Commission investigation initiated by Qualcomm.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
A U.S. investigation into a patent dispute between Nokia and Qualcomm has been put on ice.

The cell phone maker and Qualcomm, which develops chips for wireless devices, have been locked in a fight over intellectual property since negotiations to renew a licensing deal set to expire in April broke down.

Litigation between the companies is taking place both in the United Kingdom and the United States. The latest twist to the saga stems from the decision by a judge presiding over the investigation to halt the action Qualcomm has initiated against Nokia with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The investigation, scheduled to begin next month, will now be stayed until further notice. Nokia is hopeful that the suit will be dismissed before it comes to court.

"Nokia is confident that it has not infringed any Qualcomm patents that are at issue in this investigation," the Finnish phone maker said in a statement. "Additionally, since Qualcomm filed its complaint, it has voluntarily withdrawn three of the six patents from the suit. The remaining three are all from the same patent family. Nokia believes the patent withdrawal reflects on the weakness of Qualcomm's case."

Qualcomm's CEO, Paul Jacobs, said earlier this month that the companies are unlikely to reach an accord without outside intervention.

The legal bill for the wider mobile industry is now estimated to be worth billions of dollars due to patent spats.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.