Qualcomm's tangled patent war with Nokia and Broadcom got more complicated yesterday when the International Trade Commission announced an investigation into whether the San Diego chipmaker was violating patents held by Nokia of Finland. The investigation follows a June 7 order by the ITC in a separate case banning the import of certain 3G phones containing Qualcomm chips. The ITC determined Qualcomm infringed on a power-saving patent held by Broadcom, but the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered a temporary stay of the ban on Sept. 13.
The new ITC probe will focus on Qualcomm's baseband processor chips, RF chips, single chip solutions, base station processor chips, and chipsets and other products containing such chips. The chips are contained in 3G cell phones and network interface cards. Nokia filed its complaint with the ITC on June 16. The decision to begin an investigation sends the matter to an ITC administrative judge, who will make an initial determination of whether Qualcomm violated the law.
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