U.S. District Court dismisses claims of anti-competitive exclusion of positioning technology from standards

On 6 January 2012 the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted motions to dismiss claims that manufacturers of mobile telecommunications products conspired to exclude the plaintiff’s (TruePosition, Inc., “TruePosition”) positioning technology (Uplink Time Difference of Arrival, “UTDOA”) from a standard developed in two standard setting organizations (“SSOs”), the Third Generation Partnership Project (“3GPP”) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (“ETSI”).

According to TruePosition, the manufacturers engaged in various improper acts and omissions in the 3GPP meetings in order to prevent or delay the inclusion of the UTDOA technology into the Long Term Evolution (“LTE”) standard. TruePosition claims that the SSOs participated in the conspiracy by failing to properly monitor and enforce their rules.

The court held, however, that TruePosition failed to allege the existence of a conspiracy among the manufacturers. The court explained that TruePosition did not present direct evidence of an agreement between the manufacturers, nor did it present circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy sufficient to rule out independent, parallel conduct. Thus, the court dismissed the complaint; however, the court did allow TruePosition to amend its complain to address the deficiencies. The court also held that TruePosition did not establish personal jurisdiction over ETSI, but it allowed for discovery on that issue (3GPP has not yet been served in the action). [Juha Vesala]