Cracks appear in Qualcomm-Nokia truce

A licensing deal key to both companies may be about to expire

Qualcomm has admitted in a regulatory filing that it and Nokia are still at odds over 3G — a move that could potentially prove harmful to both companies.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the US provider of mobile phone technology has revealed that the licensing agreement which allows it to use Nokia's patents on integrated circuits and a parallel agreement that permits the phone-maker to use Qualcomm's patents relating to CDMA and the W-CDMA variant of 3G is soon to expire.

The filing said: "While the parties have been in discussions to conclude an extension or a new licence agreement beyond that time period, there is no certainty as to when we will be able to conclude an agreement or the terms of any such agreement. There is also a possibility that the parties will not be able to conclude a new or extended agreement by April, 2007."

Should the agreement expire, Nokia would not be able to sell 3G phones in most parts of the world and Qualcomm would no longer receive royalties from the company, which sells one in three of the world's mobiles.

A Qualcomm spokesman told "It's Nokia and Qualcomm, so there is a history there, but it's in both parties' interest to see this resolved and we are working towards a resolution."

Nokia declined to comment, citing ongoing discussions and legal negotiations.

The relationship between the pair has long been fractious. Qualcomm sued Nokia late last year, claiming patent infringement, while the Finnish handset giant lodged a complaint with the EU accusing the chipmaker of anti-competitive behaviour.