A U.S. court gave Nokia Corp. another chance Friday to hold off one of Qualcomm Inc.'s patent infringement lawsuits.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that a lower court, the U.S. District Court for Southern California, should reconsider its denial of a request by Nokia to put the case on hold.
Qualcomm filed its lawsuit last November, alleging that Nokia has infringed 12 Qualcomm patents. Earlier this year, Nokia asked the court not to consider the case while the companies try to settle their differences through arbitration. The U.S. District Court denied that request, but has now been asked to reconsider its decision.
Nokia said it is pleased with the ruling, and believes it has a strong case for staying the suit while the companies try arbitration.
Qualcomm did not yet reply to a request for comment on the ruling.
The companies are locked in a bitter renegotiation process for a patent licensing agreement that ends in April 2007. The companies license a variety of patents from each other for mobile phone technologies.
In addition to the suit in California, Qualcomm has also filed a similar complaint in the U.K. and has filed a suit against Nokia with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which has launched an investigation.
Along with a handful of other mobile phone companies, Nokia submitted a complaint to the European Commission last year, charging Qualcomm with anticompetitive activities. Nokia also filed a complaint against Qualcomm in the Delaware Court of Chancery, which often hears disputes about companies' internal affairs. That suit aims to resolve differences in opinion between the companies about certain agreed licensing principles.
Nokia has said recently that even if the April deadline passes, it will still be able to sell equipment that requires Qualcomm patents because the two companies continue to negotiate in good faith.