World News: GPS-related patent infringement claims keep courts busy

World News:  GPS-related patent infringement claims keep courts busy

Mobile Traffic Systems has filed suit against four major GPS companies, Gebre has filed suit against a long list of companies including major OEMs, Next Innovation sued OnStar and Garmin, PNI Corp sued Magellan Navigation, and Qualcomm is still scrapping with Nokia and Broadcom.

Mobile Traffic Systems filed suit on April 11th in the Alabama Northern District Court against Cobra, Garmin, Magellan and TomTom for patent infringement.

The patents, “Mobile information traffic system” and “Portable traffic information system” relate to combining traffic reports with GPS systems.

Adamasu Gebre filed an IP/patent related suit in the Utah District Court on April 12th against Acura, Audi of America, Audiovox, BMW of North America, Clarion Corp of America, Cobra Electronics, DaimlerChrysler, Dash Navigation, Delphi, Garmin International, General Motors Corp, Horizon Navigation, JVC Americas, Kenwood USA, Lexus, Mio Technology Limited, USA, PharosSciences & Applications, Pioneer Electronics (USA), Sanyo North America Corporation, Sirius Satellite Radio, Sony Corporation of America, XM Satellite Radio Holdings.

Last month, Next Innovation filed an IP/patent related suit in the California Northern District Court against OnStar and Garmin USA.

PNI Corp filed suit in February in the Texas Eastern District Court against Magellan Navigation over IP/patent issues.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm and Nokia are scrapping over royalty payments and who’s the biggest user of whose technology and patents.

Qualcomm has rejected Nokia’s $20 million “advance royalties” payment and the accompanying multiple pages of conditional terms, saying that not only is the payment a fraction of what was agreed in the parties' 2001 licence agreement, but it is also a fraction of the rates that Nokia itself seeks to impose when it attempts to enforce its patents.

A week ago, Qualcomm asked an arbitrator to rule that Nokia has elected to extend the terms of the 2001 licence agreement, including Nokia's obligation to pay the agreed royalty rate, by its admitted use of Qualcomm’s patents in Nokia's WCDMA and CDMA products after April 9th.

Qualcomm’s agreement with Nokia requires that disputes relating to the agreement must be resolved through binding arbitration in Los Angeles.

Nokia hit back by rejecting Qualcomm's public statements that it does not use Nokia patents. Nokia says that, for the last fifteen years, it has contributed its technology to industry standards, such as GSM, WCDMA and CDMA, and if Qualcomm's products comply with industry standards then it is in the same position as any other supplier of mobile technology in that it needs access to Nokia's patents covering standardised technologies.

Nokia believes that Qualcomm currently uses more than one hundred of Nokia's GSM/WCDMA and CDMA2000 essential patents in its chipsets, and the two companies are yet to agree on the compensation payable by Qualcomm for such patents.

From April 9, 2007, Nokia contractually has a fully paid up licence covering Qualcomm's early patents, which are licensed to Nokia royalty-free for its handsets going forward in perpetuity.

Nokia and Qualcomm continue to be in cross-licence negotiations.

Qualcomm is also still at odds with Broadcom. Broadcom began new litigation last week, alleging that Qualcomm’s misconduct before industry standards organisations constitutes fraud, breach of contract and violation of California’s unfair competition statute.

Broadcom asserts that Qualcomm improperly concealed its patents, reneged on licensing obligations, and exerted dominance through hidden affiliations.

Broadcom seeks from Qualcomm disgorgement of profits, restitution, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction barring Qualcomm from seeking to enforce certain cellular, video, and mobile broadband patents against Broadcom or Broadcom's customers.

Qualcomm is, however, off the hook with Upaid, who dismissed all patent-related claims against Qualcomm. Under the settlement agreement, Qualcomm will receive a royalty-free, worldwide licence to the patents in suit and any related patents, and also has obtained (on behalf of its customers) a covenant from Upaid not to sue on the licensed patents for the use of the BREW® system developed by Qualcomm or any other Qualcomm data services.

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