Qualcomm stock rises after appeals court tosses FTC antitrust case

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, on the Cell World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 23, 2016.

Brad Fast | CNBC

Qualcomm inventory rose over 4% on Tuesday after a U.S. Appeals Court docket overturned the Federal Commerce Fee’s 2019 antitrust victory in opposition to the the world’s largest smartphone modem chipmaker. 

The ruling is the top of a chapter in a saga which noticed Qualcomm’s major companies, together with its lucractive patent licensing enterprise, beneath fireplace from regulators world wide. The FTC initially introduced the case in 2017.

“We decline to ascribe antitrust legal responsibility in these dynamic and quickly altering expertise markets with out clearer proof of anticompetitive impact,” wrote Consuelo M. Callahan, circuit choose for the ninth district. 

Last year, U.S. district choose Lucy Koh sided with the U.S. FTC, which was accusing the corporate of utilizing “anticompetitive techniques” to license key wi-fi expertise and monopolize the marketplace for modem chips. On the coronary heart of the dispute had been the charges that Qualcomm charged wi-fi patents essential to make a smartphone modem and the way it bundled these charges with its personal chips.

Koh dominated that Qualcomm engaged in “in depth” anticompetitive habits in opposition to smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung, together with threatening to chop off chip provides or withholding technical assist. 

Koh issued an injunction limiting Qualcomm’s enterprise practices, together with ordering it to renegotiate licensing agreements, which was placed on maintain pending attraction. The three-Zero ruling from the Court docket of Appeals for the Ninth District on Tuesday overturned that call.

Apple officers, together with its COO, had testified within the case, and the iPhone maker testified in its personal civil trial with Qualcomm that Qualcomm’s licensing insurance policies had been anticompetitive. Apple settled its personal associated authorized battle with Qualcomm and agreed to make use of Qualcomm chips in its iPhones final yr shortly earlier than the FTC victory. 

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