Nokia sued over mobile patents

The Finnish handset maker is being sued by Qualcomm, which is seeking damages and a ban on infringing handsets

Qualcomm has filed a suit against Nokia accusing the handset maker of patent infringement.

According to Qualcomm, Nokia has infringed 11 patents that owned by Qualcomm or its subsidiary SnapTrack. The patents relate to GSM — the most common standard for mobile phones with more than 1.6 billion sales worldwide — as well as data standards GPRS and EDGE .

Talks between the pair over licensing the patents, which Qualcomm claims are essential for manufacturing any equipment designed to work with the non-proprietary GSM standard, have faltered.

Qualcomm's general counsel Louis M Lupin said the company had initially hoped that the dispute could be settled amicably and that it is disappointed to have to resort to legal channels.

Qualcomm is now seeking monetary damages from Nokia and a ban on the Finnish company's sale of any "patent infringing" equipment.

Nokia declined to comment on the suit.

The litigation comes two weeks after Nokia's own would-be legal patent challenge to Qualcomm.

Earlier this month, Nokia and five other mobile manufacturers called on the EC to investigate Qualcomm, claiming the company was behaving anti-competitively and using its patents on two flavours of 3G technology to shut out rivals from the market.

The call for an investigation was subsequently backed by mobile body the GSM Association, which claimed that a prompt resolution to the debate would clear up any uncertainty and therefore be of benefit to everyone in the industry, although it didn't go so far as to pick sides.

Qualcomm, however, said the suit is "factually inaccurate".

Broadcom, another big rival of Qualcomm's which formed part of the coalition that complained to the EC, has also been on the receiving end of a lawsuit from Qualcomm. The company alleged Broadcom infringed some of the same patents at dispute in the Nokia case. Broadcom had previously filed its own patent infringement suit against Qualcomm.