Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Qualcomm to return US$815m to BlackBerry

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

A person holds a BlackBerry smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 4.

Photo: AFP

US mobile chip giant Qualcomm Inc is to refund BlackBerry Ltd US$814.9 million in royalties overpaid by the Canadian company, according to a tentative arbitration award announced on Wednesday.

A final award expected to include interest and legal fees is to be determined late next month at a hearing in southern California where the arbitration took place.

“BlackBerry and Qualcomm have a longstanding relationship and continue to be valued technology partners,” BlackBerry chief executive John Chen (程守宗) said in a release.

“We are pleased the arbitration panel ruled in our favor and look forward to collaborating with Qualcomm,” Chen said.

Qualcomm said in a separate release that it does not agree with the decision, but that it is binding and cannot be appealed.

The chipmaker contended that the arbitration regarded contractual provisions unique to BlackBerry and “has no impact” on licensing agreements with other firms.

In a legal filing on late Monday, Qualcomm denied the charges made by Apple Inc in a lawsuit filed in January, while accusing Apple of failing to negotiate in good faith on patent royalties.

Apple’s complaint said Qualcomm abused its market power to demand unfair royalties, echoing charges by US antitrust regulators and authorities around the world.

However, Qualcomm responded that Apple was abusing its position in the smartphone market to reduce the royalties it pays for technologies contributing to the success of the iPhone.

It added that Apple has encouraged antitrust regulators around the world — with complaints launched in South Korea, the EU and elsewhere — by “intentionally giving government agencies false and misleading information and testimony about Qualcomm.”

In January, the US Federal Trade Commission hit Qualcomm with an antitrust suit alleging it abused its dominant position in the market for processors used in cellphones and other devices, resulting in higher prices for consumers.

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