This paper examines how government policy has influenced the pattern of innovation and industrial leadership in the cellular mobile communication systems. It focuses on the US government's role in promoting the early development of the cellular concept in the 1970s, Europe's attempt to take the lead with the promotion of the GSM standard in the late 1980s, and the rise of two rival world-wide standards in the 1990s (Europe's GSM versus America's CDMA systems). The cellular mobile communications system is treated as an example of a complex product system (CoPS). CoPS are large-scale, engineering intensive products that are supplied in unit or batch production and tailored to meet the requirements of particular large users. The purpose of this paper is to show by a single case study how patterns of technological innovation in CoPS may be influenced by policies of direct and indirect government control to promote industrial leadership.