August 21, 2012 / 9:37 PM / 5 years ago

Three firms must defend mobile phone suit - US judge

Aug 21 (Reuters) - Ericsson, Qualcomm Inc and Alcatel-Lucent SA lost a bid on Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit by a Liberty Media Corp unit that accused them of conspiring to exclude its positioning technology from being adopted in 4G mobile phones.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly in Philadelphia wrote that TruePosition Inc's "allegations of an illegal conspiracy between the corporate defendants 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."

Charlie Guyer, a spokesman for Alcatel-Lucent, said it was company policy not to comment on pending litigation. Representatives of Qualcomm could not immediately be reached.

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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