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3G licensing complaints 'inaccurate, meritless' - Qualcomm

Claims dismissed

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Qualcomm has dismissed allegations made about its WCDMA licensing policy by six mobile phone and component manufacturers as "factually inaccurate and legally meritless".

On Friday, Nokia, NEC, Panasonic, Broadcom, Texas Instruments and Ericsson said they had reported Qualcomm to European Commission competition regulators. They claimed the company had reneged on commitments to offer technology it owns but which is part of the WCDMA 3G mobile phone standard on fair and non-discriminatory terms.

Qualcomm said it had not seen the specifics of the complaint, but claimed that on the basis of the six companies' announcement of the complaint, the allegations are unfounded.

"The accusation that Qualcomm has not lived up to its commitments to standard-setting organisations to license its essential patents on fair and reasonable terms is belied by the more than 130 licences Qualcomm has granted to a broad range of companies, among them five of the six reported claimants," the phone technology firm said in a statement.

It said it had already licensed its WCDMA technology to a number of chip makers, including Texas Instruments, NEC, Infineon, Philips, Agere, Motorola, VIA and Fujitsu.

"Qualcomm has granted and announced far more licences than any other company claiming to hold patents essential to the CDMA2000, WCDMA or TD-SCDMA standards," the company maintained. "The widespread market acceptance of QUALCOMM's licensing program conclusively demonstrates that Qualcomm's licensing practices are fair, reasonable and pro-competitive."

Qualcomm dismissed complaints of royalty discounting is "misleading". Its approach is "legitimate and lawful price competition", Qualcomm said, claiming its policy of offering discounts to be good for manufacturers, operators and especially consumers. Qualcomm said it has never made the purchase of its chips a condition of granting a licence, as the six had alleged, but equally it failed to state on what basis it does offer royalty discounts.

The company said it would "vigorously defend" against any claim of that it had acted unlawfully in its licensing or chipset sales practices. ®

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