Qualcomm just appointed a new general counsel, Donald J. Rosenberg, who joined the company after serving as Apple's SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary. CEO Paul Jacobs said Rosenberg "will immediately provide valuable insights to our executive and legal teams as he manages and directs the company's complex worldwide litigation." Rosenberg, of course, will have his hands full: but the European Commission announced its plans to initiate proceedings against an investigation into Qualcomm's licensing agreements in the EU.
In October 2005, Broadcom, Ericsson, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic Mobile, and Texas Instruments requested that the EC investigate Qualcomm's alleged anti-competitive conduct in the licensing of essential 3G patents. The companies alleged that Qualcomm is violating competition laws and is failing to meet its promise to license its technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
UBS analyst Maynard Um said that the "EC may, among other options, reject the complaints or come to a settlement with Qualcomm. We believe it would be unusual for the EC to mandate royalty rates, particularly given separate agreements already negotiated with the various parties. However, the outcome is difficult to predict. Additionally, given the complexity and potential impact to the related parties, we would be surprised to see a quick resolution."
For more on the issue:
- read this release about Rosenberg
- read Qualcomm's reaction to the EC proceedings