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Judge Tells Qualcomm They Must License Modem Tech to Rivals

Judge Tells Qualcomm They Must License Modem Tech to Rivals

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday issued a preliminary ruling against modem chip maker Qualcomm in the antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission in 2017. 

Reuters:

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.

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.

Qualcomm is accused of forcing companies like Apple and other wireless device makers to buy its wireless chips in exchange for better patent royalty rates.

Apple was once in an arrangement with Qualcomm to exclusively use its modem chips for several years, but began also using chips from Intel with the release of the 2016 iPhone lineup. Apple went Intel-only with this year’s iPhone XS and iPhone XR handsets.

Settling with U.S. regulators would be a turning point for Qualcomm, which has been defending its business model while facing lawsuits from customers such as Apple Inc, regulatory challenges to its practices around the world.

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