Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Qualcomm Inc. and Ericsson (ERICB) AB must defend against claims by Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA)’s TruePosition unit that the companies tried to deny it access to the next generation of phone-locator technology, a court ruled.
TruePosition plausibly stated a claim against the companies for a violation of U.S. antitrust laws, U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly in Philadelphia said today. He denied a motion to dismiss the case.
TruePosition, based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, helps police, fire and ambulance services locate more than 55 million callers in the U.S. every year, the company said in its complaint. The company sued in July 2011 alleging that its rivals conspired to exclude its positioning technology from the standard for 4G mobile networks.
“The allegations of an illegal conspiracy between the corporate defendants are plausible when viewed in context and as a whole,” Kelly said in a 50-page opinion.
Mary Ward, a U.S. spokeswoman for Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent, declined to comment on the ruling. Christie Thoene, a spokeswoman for San Diego-based Qualcomm (QCOM), didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
“Ericsson is in the process of reviewing the judge’s opinion,” Kathy Egan, a spokeswoman for Stockholm-based Ericsson, said in a phone interview. She declined to comment further.
Alcatel-Lucent’s American depositary receipts, each representing one ordinary share, dropped 1 cent to $1.19 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Ericsson’s ADRs fell 11 cents to $9.83 and Qualcomm declined 72 cents to $62.08 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The case is TruePosition v. LM Ericsson, 11-cv-4574, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).
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