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Nokia: German court rules Qualcomm patent invalid

(Adds details, comments)

HELSINKI, July 23 (Reuters) - The world's top cellphone maker Nokia NOK1V.HE said the German Federal Patent Court ruled on Wednesday that a Qualcomm QCOM.O GSM patent asserted in a case against Nokia is invalid. "This is the third court to conclude that Qualcomm's patent claims against Nokia are without merit," Nokia said.

Qualcomm has filed 11 lawsuits on three continents against Nokia claiming the Finnish firm has infringed its patents in mobile phones based on the widely used GSM technology.

So far the U.S. International Trade Commission and Britain’s High Court have decided the patents have been either invalid or not infringed.

“Today’s decision is further evidence that Qualcomm does not have relevant and valid GSM patents and that it overstates its role as a wireless innovator,” Nokia said.

No one at Qualcomm was immediately available for comment.

A hearing on the second Qualcomm patent in the German court case is scheduled for October.

The companies have been at legal loggerheads since failing to renew a technology licence pact that expired on April 9, 2007. Analysts estimate that Nokia pays around $500 million a year for use of Qualcomm patents and it wants to reduce the sum.

A key court case between the two is scheduled to start in Delaware later on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki, editing by Will Waterman)

((tarmo.virki@reuters.com, +358-9-680 50 235, Reuters messaging: tarmo.virki.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NOKIA/QUALCOMM

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