Nokia’s patent exhaustion case against Qualcomm dismissed

Nokia ‘s battle to stop Qualcomm from demanding royalties from both chip makers and handset manufacturers for the same patent has hit a snag with the dismissal of a case the handset giant filed in the Netherlands.

The District Court in The Hague dismissed the complaint in which Nokia sought to prevent Qualcomm from enforcing its patents in Europe when the patents had already been licensed by Texas Instruments. Nokia argues that when Qualcomm licenses its patents to a chip maker, it shouldn’t be able to collect royalties on the same patents when the phone maker uses the chips in phones.

However, Qualcomm said that its contracts with chip suppliers specifically reserve the right for Qualcomm to seek royalties from handset manufacturers incorporating the chips in their products.

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Qualcomm said the court decided that Nokia’s complaint failed to adequately allege any specific instances of what’s known as patent exhaustion regarding any specific Qualcomm patent used in a Nokia product.

Nokia put an optimistic spin on the ruling, saying that the ruling was based on the scope of the relief Nokia requested, not the principle of patent exhaustion.

The issue of patent exhaustion is becoming increasingly important in the wireless industry, Nokia said.

The handset maker is considering appealing the decision. According to Qualcomm, Nokia has three months to file an appeal.

The dismissal of the case in the Netherlands follows the recent dismissal of a similar claim brought by Nokia in Germany, Qualcomm said.

Qualcomm and Nokia are embroiled in a bitter legal battle, likely rooted in their ongoing efforts to renegotiate their patent cross-licensing arrangement that expired earlier this year.

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