Qualcomm asks U.S. appeals court to put antitrust judgment on hold

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Qualcomm has argued that if it ultimately wins its appeal, the company wouldn’t be able to undo damage inflicted from enforcement of the district court's earlier judgment. (Qualcomm)

Qualcomm on Monday asked a U.S. appeals court to put an antitrust judgment related to its patent-licensing practices on hold as the chipmaker seeks to have the decision overturned.

Last week U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh denied Qualcomm’s request to stay her May ruling, in which she sided with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and found Qualcomm violated competition laws. The district judge found Qualcomm unlawfully cornered the smartphone chip market by charging excessive licensing fees and unreasonably high royalties for its patents.

As part of the decision, Koh ordered Qualcomm to renegotiate licensing agreements without the use of tactics deemed unfair by the court, as well as license its technology patents to rival chipmakers.  

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RELATED: U.S. district judge sides with FTC, rules Qualcomm violated antitrust laws

Qualcomm is pursuing an expedited appeal of the Koh’s ruling, and wants the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to pause enforcement of her order while that process is ongoing. Qualcomm has argued that if it ultimately wins its appeal, the company wouldn’t be able to undo damage inflicted from enforcement of the earlier judgment.

“Qualcomm will be unable to revert back to its current license agreements, undo this web of new agreements, reverse any exhaustion of its patent rights, or recover all the revenue lost or transaction costs incurred,” Qualcomm wrote, according to Reuters.

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Reuters reports that Qualcomm rejected Koh’s ruling that its patent fees represented a “surcharge” on other chip makers, increasing prices and hindering other suppliers’ ability to compete with Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has been fighting legal battles over its licensing practices, but secured a win earlier this year when it settled a year-long lawsuit brought on by Apple, ending all ongoing litigation between the pair.

The iPhone maker agreed to continue to pay Qualcomm for licensing fees, signed a multiyear chipset supply agreement, and made a one-time payment to the chipmaker.  

Immediately after the settlement, Intel, which was expected to supply Apple with 5G smartphone chips in 2020, announced it would exit the 5G phone modem market.