Another Setback for Qualcomm as a Preliminary Ruling Forces Qualcomm to license Modem technology to Intel
The Qualcomm battle with Apple is going terribly wrong for Qualcomm. This month alone a Munich Court threw out the patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and an ITC Judge pointed out that a Qualcomm witness against Apple that was paid millions had no credibility. On October 16 Qualcomm sought to make a settlement with the FTC so that there would be no ruling on Qualcomm forcing Apple to use their chips in iDevices. Today, a U.S. court ruled against Qualcomm again in the FTC case.
The preliminary ruling by Judge Lucy Koh in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said that Qualcomm must license some patents involved in making so-called modem chips, which help smart phones connect to wireless data networks, to rival chip firms.
The court order read: Plaintiff Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") sues Defendant Qualcomm, Incorporated ("Qualcomm") for violation of § 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTCA”), 15 U.S.C. § 45. Before the Court is the FTC’s motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether two industry agreements obligate Qualcomm to license its essential patents to competing modem chip suppliers. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court GRANTS the FTC’s motion for partial summary judgment.
The Court Grants the FTC’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
While this may be good news for Intel making modem chips for Apple, the lawsuit is still scheduled to go to trial next year.
Qualcomm and the FTC had jointly asked Koh last month to delay ruling on the issue for up to 30 days while they pursued settlement talks. Koh denied that motion on Tuesday.
Settling with U.S. regulators would be a turning point for the San Diego chip firm, which has been defending its business model amid lawsuits from large customers such as Apple and Huawei Technologies, as well as dealing with regulatory challenges to its practices around the world.
At issue in the civil litigation and regulatory disputes is whether Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices, when combined with its chip business, constitute anticompetitive behavior.
In August, Qualcomm settled with Taiwanese regulators for $93 million and an agreement to invest $700 million in the country over the next five years.