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Qualcomm vs Nokia: Seconds out, round three

A complaint with the International Trade Commission is the third time in recent months Qualcomm has taken legal action against Nokia

The ongoing legal brawl between chipmaker Qualcomm and phone maker Nokia has been cranked up one more notch, as Qualcomm revealed on Monday it has lodged a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

Qualcomm claims Nokia is engaging in unfair trade practices by importing and selling phones that Qualcomm says infringe on six Qualcomm-owned patents relating to the GSM mobile standard.

As a result, Qualcomm is now asking the ITC to ban Nokia from importing the devices into the US and to prohibit the sale and distribution of phones that have already been imported.

According to Qualcomm, the investigation is likely to begin in July and go to court in the first half of 2007.

Nokia said it is evaluating the allegations and will "respond as necessary". The handset maker added in a statement: "While we are still evaluating Qualcomm's latest action it appears that most of the patents which are the subject matter of Qualcomm letter to the ITC are believed by Nokia to be covered by Qualcomm's prior agreements to license on fair and reasonable terms and are thus not properly subject to a request by Qualcomm to the ITC."

This latest move is the third time in recent months Qualcomm has taken legal action against Nokia.

In late 2005, it filed a suit in the US high courts claiming infringement of key patents. Last month, Qualcomm filed a similar complaint in the UK courts.