The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has commenced its investigation into allegations of unfair trade practices by Nokia.

Qualcomm filed a complaint against Nokia last month, accusing the company of infringing on six Qualcomm patents through the sale of certain mobile phones and other wireless devices and components.

Administrative Law Judge Robert L. Barton, Jr. plans to schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing and then make an initial determination, according to Qualcomm. The initial determination is expected in the first half of 2007. 

Nokia contends Qualcomm's claims are without merit, but Bill Plummer, Nokia's Vice President of External Affairs, says the company plans to fully cooperate with the ITC.

Qualcomm hopes for an exclusion order, which would bar Nokia's infringing products from being imported to the United States. Qualcomm also wants to halt the "marketing, advertising, demonstration, warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products" in the United States. The accused products include handsets that operate on GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks.

"This is the third legal action [Qualcomm has] taken against us in the last eight months over GSM technologies that have been in the market for many years," Plummer says. Nokia believes the legal battles reflect Qualcomm's concern over its own 3G W-CDMA business model, according to Plummer.

Plummer emphasized Nokia's respect for other companies' intellectual property.