Qualcomm didn’t abuse chip patents to squeeze phone makers, appeals court rules


Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in hand front

  • An appeals courtroom has overturned a judgment that Qualcomm was anti-competitive by abusing chip patents.
  • Qualcomm was taking part in tough however stayed throughout the legislation, based on the courtroom.
  • It’s a blow to the FTC.

Qualcomm didn’t violate antitrust legal guidelines by making cellphone manufacturers license patents to be able to purchase chips, based on a federal appeals courtroom.

The Wall Road Journal experiences that the Ninth US Circuit Court docket of Appeals has overturned a verdict towards Qualcomm, arguing that the FTC hadn’t proven that the chip big’s conduct was anticompetitive. The corporate was utilizing “sharp elbows,” the courtroom mentioned, nevertheless it wasn’t breaking the legislation.

The FTC discovered the ruling “disappointing” and mentioned it was “contemplating [its] choices,” however didn’t trace at what these choices is perhaps. A settlement isn’t probably because the fee is deadlocked.

Officers had accused Qualcomm of abusing the license system to power corporations to just accept its patent royalty charges — in the event that they didn’t comply with the present phrases, they wouldn’t be prospects. The phrases additionally left some corporations paying Qualcomm royalties even when they weren’t utilizing the related chips. Apple, for instance, balked at Qualcomm’s licensing phrases for years till the 2 sides reached a deal in 2019.

Learn extra: Apple, Qualcomm settlement killed Intel’s 5G modem plans

Qualcomm, in the meantime, maintained that it had achieved its place legally and that nearly each mobile phone used its patents, whether or not or not its chips had been inside.

The corporate isn’t escaping from regulatory scrutiny unscathed, at the least outdoors of the US. The European Union, South Korea, and Taiwan have all slapped Qualcomm with penalties. It’s nonetheless a key victory for the corporate if the ruling holds, nevertheless. If there’s a priority, it’s that the win is perhaps fleeting as corporations search for and make options. Qualcomm may nonetheless rake in licensing cash, nevertheless it may lose essential enterprise in the long run.

As for you, the cellphone purchaser? For essentially the most half, this can proceed enterprise as regular. You may see fewer telephones utilizing Qualcomm modems within the years forward, although, and we wouldn’t rule out some Android distributors dropping Snapdragons as nicely.


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