A Dutch court dismissed Nokia's patent-licensing case against mobile technology provider Qualcomm Inc on Wednesday, saying its jurisdiction was limited and that Nokia's complaint was too broad to give a reasoned decision.
Three judges at the court in The Hague ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the world's biggest mobile phone maker's claims outside of the Netherlands.
They also ruled that Nokia had not presented enough information on the specific patents and licensing agreements, making it difficult for the court to rule without making broad assertions.
Nokia and Qualcomm have been in numerous legal disputes after a key cross-licensing agreement over technology patents expired in April 2007, worrying investors on both sides of the Atlantic, with complaints filed in the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.
Nokia argues that it should not have to pay for technology provided by San Diego-based Qualcomm, because Qualcomm's technology is already licensed to a supplier of Nokia's mobile phone chips, Texas Instruments (TXN.N: Quote, Profile, Research).
A German court in Mannheim dismissed Nokia's case against Qualcomm last month on similar grounds.
This is the second time in as many months that a court in Europe has rejected Nokia's attempts to have a declaration of exhaustion against Qualcomm's patents, a Qualcomm spokesman said in a prepared statement.
Nokia wanted the Dutch and German courts to rule Qualcomm's patents were exhausted and that it should not be able to charge twice for its patents, billing first chipset suppliers and then also handset makers.
Nokia noted that the court dismissed the case based on the scope of claims made by Nokia, rather than the patent issue itself: Nokia is confident that its substantive claim is well founded and is considering if it will appeal the decision.
Analysts estimate Nokia had been paying Qualcomm about $500 million per year before the patent expiry. Nokia says its patent portfolio is much stronger now than 15 years ago, when the original licensing deal was signed.
Qualcomm shares have lost about a fifth of their value from a 12-month peak in May, right after the cross-licensing agreement with Nokia expired and it stopped booking revenue from Nokia. Chips based on Qualcomm's technology are crucial for mobile phones that deliver high-speed third-generation services.
The Hague-based court also ordered Nokia to pay 2,059 euros ($3,000) in legal fees.
Three weeks ago, a U.S. judge recommended ending a U.S. International Trade Commission investigation of a complaint Nokia brought against Qualcomm as the two companies are already in arbitration proceedings related to a 2001 technology license agreement.
But in yet another, separate, case, the ITC banned the U.S. import of some phones with Qualcomm chips that were found to infringe a patent owned by Broadcom Corp. The ban has been partially stayed while Qualcomm appeals the case.