August 21, 2012 / 10:45 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Liberty Media unit mobile phone lawsuit can proceed-US judge

* Liberty unit’s technology can locate emergency callers

* Company says conspiracy kept technology out of 4G phones

* US District judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit

By Nate Raymond

Aug 21 (Reuters) - A unit of Liberty Media Corp can proceed with its lawsuit against Ericsson, Qualcomm Inc and Alcatel-Lucent SA that accuses the three manufacturers of conspiring to exclude Liberty’s positioning technology from being adopted in 4G mobile phones, a judge decided on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly in Philadelphia wrote that TruePosition Inc’s allegations of an illegal conspiracy “are plausible when viewed in context and as a whole”.

TruePosition is a Liberty Media subsidiary that sells technology to assist carriers in locating mobile phones when someone calls the U.S. emergency number 911.

The company accused Ericsson, Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent of hijacking the organizations that set global standards for what technologies would be included in LTE 4G networks.

“Ericsson is in the process of reviewing the judge’s opinion,” said Kathy Egan, a spokeswoman for the company. “We have no additional comment at this time.”

Roger Brooks, a lawyer for Qualcomm, said it was “unfortunate we will go through the expense of discovery, but we intend to prove there wasn’t any conspiracy and isn’t any substance to the complaint.”

Charlie Guyer, a spokesman for Alcatel-Lucent, said it was company policy not to comment on pending litigation.

A spokesman for TruePosition had no immediate comment.

TruePosition filed the lawsuit in June 2011, citing what it called violations of federal antitrust laws. The lawsuit accused the companies of seeking to block TruePosition’s technology from being adopted in the future LTE 4G wireless networks to gain an advantage for their own location technologies.

In January, Kelly dismissed an earlier version of the lawsuit but allowed TruePosition to file an amended complaint.

In his decision on Tuesday, Kelly said TruePosition had failed to establish direct evidence of an agreement to prevent standardization of its technologies. But the judge said TruePosition had adequately claimed circumstantial evidence.

The case is TruePosition, Inc. V. LM Ericsson Telephony Company, et al., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 11-cv-04574

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