Chip manufacturer Qualcomm has been dealt a serious body blow, just days after taking on Apple in a multi-million dollar legal battle. In a separate dispute, Qualcomm has been ordered to pay BlackBerry a whopping $814.9 million by an arbitration panel, over claims that the phone maker had overpaid royalties. After agreeing to settle the case through an arbitrator, Qualcomm recognises the decision as ‘binding’ and even though it ‘does not agree with the decision’. Consequently, the manufacturer will not be appealing the panel’s verdict.
The dispute relates to an alleged breach of a contractual ‘royalty cap’ agreement between Qualcomm and BlackBerry from 2010 to 2015. Apple has begun legal proceedings against the chip manufacturer in three separate countries related to a similar royalty violation. This time round, however, Qualcomm is not going down without a fight and earlier this week launched a counter lawsuit against Apple. Claiming that Apple has ‘encouraged regulatory attacks’ on its business by making ‘false statements’ around the world, Qualcomm also alleges that Apple interfered in its agreements with licensees that manufacture iPhones and iPads. "It (Apple) has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms from Qualcomm," a Qualcomm spokesman said.
With a lot already on its plate, Qualcomm has also faced several legal proceedings with Chinese chip manufacturers also calling its IP royalties into question. In 2015, the firm was fined $975 million by Chinese authorities and last year forked up an out-of-court settlement with phone maker Meizu. An ongoing dispute with US company FTC was launched in January related to anti-competition laws.
To add insult to injury, the US government has launched an investigation into Qualcomm for using underhand tactics in a bid to monopolise key semiconductor markets in smartphones.