ITC opens hearing on Nokia, Qualcomm dispute

The US International Trade Commission opened a hearing to try to determine if Nokia infringed three cell phone patents owned by US chip maker Qualcomm, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report quoted Nokia's lead attorney Charles Verhoeven as saying in in opening arguments that he was confident Nokia's products did not infringe the Qualcomm patents, arguing the Qualcomm patents should never have been granted.

A US Supreme Court ruling earlier this year in KSR versus Teleflex makes it easier to invalidate patents on the grounds the innovation was 'obvious,' the report said.

But Qualcomm attorney Terrence McMahon displayed documents he said showed Nokia researchers had been struggling with the problem of dropped calls, without success, the Reuters report said.

Qualcomm was able to resolve the problem using the three patents at issue, McMahon said in his opening address

The hearings are expected to run until September 24. The ITC, which determines whether imports unfairly injure US companies, said on its web site it aims to reach a decision by March 12, 2008.

The two companies have been wrangling over a key cross- licensing agreement over technology patents that expired in April 2007 and their battle is worrying investors and the industry on both sides of the Atlantic, the report further said.