Nokia faces $252m bill in patent case

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Nokia, the world?s largest handset manufacturer, is facing a bill of around $252m after a US federal court ruled against the company in a patent dispute with InterDigital Communications, the US-based wireless technology company.

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York confirmed an arbitration ruling that had been handed out in June but which had been challenged by Nokia.

The International Court of Arbitration had ruled that the Finnish handset maker would have to pay between $232m and $252m in royalties to InterDigital for GSM and GPRS mobile phone and network technology sold between 2002 and 2006.

Nokia on Thursday said it was reviewing its legal position and was yet to decide whether to challenge the federal court ruling.

If no challenge is raised, the two companies are expected to begin negotiations, which could lower the final amount that Nokia must pay.

Nokia and InterDigital have been in arbitration over this issue since 2003.

Nokia and InterDigital began working together in 1999 when Nokia initially licensed InterDigital?s technology that allows mobile devices to communicate with each other via radio waves.

However, the two companies disagreed over royalty rates for the technology in 2003, when InterDigital announced that it would begin charging Nokia royalties at the same rate it had agreed with rivals Ericsson and Sony Ericsson.

Nokia refused to accept the proposed rates and requested arbitration on the issue.

The patent case is limited to the current generation of GSM and GPRS technology.

There are separate agreements between Nokia and InterDigital for third-generation mobile phone technology, which are not under dispute.

Founded in 1972 and based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, InterDigital has over 1,000 patents related to wireless telecommunications technology, particularly the air-interface that is at the very heart of mobile devices.

Some industry observers estimate that up to 75 per cent of the world?s GSM phones use technology based on InterDigital?s designs.

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