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Qualcomm seeking stay of Judge Koh ruling from 9th Circuit Court

by on05 July 2019

After Judge denies request

A US judge ruled against Qualcomm effort to block the implementation of a sweeping antitrust ruling against it as the mobile chip supplier pursues an appeal that could take more than a year.

Qualcomm had to request a stay of the ruling pending appeal from Judge Koh as it was expected that she would deny it and uphold her ruling.

After giving Judge Koh some time to rule on the stay request, Qualcomm could then file a request for a stay from the 9th Circuit Court. This is the same court that will hear the appeal. Filing of the motion for a stay is progressing, and 9th Circuit Court could rule on it within a month.

In parallel with the process above, Qualcomm is also filing an appeal of the ruling itself with the 9th Circuit Court.

US District Judge Lucy Koh didn’t say why she was denying Qualcomm’s motion but she did strike from the record several pieces of evidence that Qualcomm had tried to use to make its case.

Government regulators had objected to including the slide deck, which would have become part of the official record for higher courts to review.

Qualcomm, which supplies modem chips to connect phones to wireless data networks, is fighting a 21 May decision by Koh in a case brought by the US Federal Trade Commission. Koh ruled that Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices had “strangled competition” and directed the company to renegotiate licensing agreements with customers.

Among other things, the ruling would drastically alter Qualcomm’s business model by forcing it to license its patents to rival chip makers instead of phone makers, which could potentially slice its patent royalties from several dollars per phone to pennies. Those patents generate most of Qualcomm’s profits.The ruling only applies to Qualcomm's cellular standard-essential patent SEPs. Qualcomms royalties for non-cellular SEP's and non essential patents (NEP's) are not covered by this ruling. 

Qualcomm asked Koh to set aside her decision while it pursues an appeal. It argued that Koh’s ruling raised “serious legal questions” because, among other things, Koh blocked market evidence showing that Apple dropped Qualcomm in favour of rival chip supplier Intel.

Smartphone maker LG Electronics Inc opposed Qualcomm’s efforts to freeze the ruling. The phone maker said it is negotiating chip supply and patent license agreements with Qualcomm and could be forced into signing another unfair deal unless Koh’s protections remain in place.

Koh’s ruling only related to whether to put the provisions on hold temporarily as any appeal plays out. Analysts expect many phone makers to be negotiating critical 5G contracts with Qualcomm while the appeal runs its course.


Last modified on 05 July 2019
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