Doomsayers take note: the $750 billion mobile-phone industry could, conceivably, grind to a halt on April 10. That's the date a long-standing licensing agreement expires between Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, and Qualcomm, telecom's most powerful intellectual-property company. The two behemoths are warring not just over money, but ultimately over the structure of the industry itself and the increasingly complicated question of who pays how much to whom for the hundreds of patented technologies packed into every handheld gadget that customers all over the planet use to make calls, access the Net and send messages.

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