Qualcomm to refund BlackBerry $815 mn in royalties

 

US mobile chip giant Qualcomm (Swiss: QCOM-USD.SW - news) is to refund BlackBerry (Swiss: BB.SW - news) $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 will be determined in late May 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 said in a release.

"We are pleased the arbitration panel ruled in our favor and look forward to collaborating with Qualcomm."

Shares (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) in BlackBerry, which has largely exited the mobile handset business in favor of software and services, jumped 16.9 percent to nine dollars in trading on the Nasdaq (Frankfurt: 813516 - news) exchange after the arbitration award was announced.

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

The chip maker contended that the arbitration regarded contractual provisions unique to BlackBerry and "has no impact" on licensing agreements with other companies.

In a legal filing late Monday, Qualcomm denied the charges made by Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) in a lawsuit filed in January, while accusing Apple of failing to negotiate in good faith on patent royalties.

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

But 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 European Union 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 cell phones and other devices, resulting in higher prices for consumers.

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