Wednesday November 07, 2018

Qualcomm Must License Modem Patents to Competitors

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that Qualcomm must license some of its modem patents to its competitors, like Samsung and Intel. The judge said "court precedent established that Qualcomm’s commitments 'include an obligation to license to all comers, including competing modem chip suppliers.' And those licenses have to be offered on fair and reasonable terms." Qualcomm got sued by The FTC, The Korea Fair Trade Commission, Apple, and several apple manufacturing partners last year over the antitrust allegations, and this ruling is seen as a major setback in their defense.

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"This is a game-changer for the industry," said Florian Mueller, an intellectual-property analyst who studies patent litigation. Qualcomm historically has licensed patents by charging device makers a percentage of the sales price up to $400 on handsets. The ruling means that it could only assess fees based on the $15 to $20 cost of modem chips in the future, Mr. Mueller said.