Federal Court Rules Qualcomm Must License Some Patents To Competitors

Posted by at 11:15 am on November 7, 2018

Qualcomm was dealt a blow by U.S. Federal Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday, who ruled that the chip giant must license some of its mobile technology patents to competing companies.

The preliminary ruling was made against the backdrop of the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm, which is scheduled to reach the trial phase in 2019. Koh says Qualcomm needs to let rival firms, such as Intel, license patents related to modems, a key component that allows phones to communicate with cellular networks.

The FTC and Qualcomm had asked Koh to delay the ruling as they discuss the possibility of a settlement, but Koh denied the motion. Qualcomm has run afoul of the Chinese and Korean governments over its licensing practices, which some view as anticompetitive.

The company settled with Taiwan and has appealed rulings in Korea. Qualcomm recently said that Apple owes the company some $7 billion in unpaid royalties.

Apple sued Qualcomm in June 2017 over what it deemed “illegal” licensing practices.

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