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March 9, 2009

Judge dismisses antitrust suits against Qualcomm

Judge held that the alleged injuries were too remote to be traced to the allegedly anti-competitive conduct

By CBR Staff Writer

Chipmaker Qualcomm has announced that the US District Court of California has dismissed three consumer class action lawsuits against the company that alleged antitrust violations and unfair competition.

Judge William Q Hayes held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring antitrust claims because their alleged injuries were too remote to be traced to the allegedly anti-competitive conduct. The judge also held that the plaintiff’s allegations did not give them any right to compensation under California’s unfair competition law.

Qualcomm holds patents to technology that was included in an industry standard for cell phones transitioning from second-generation GSM systems to third generation. The three cases, filed in April and November 2008, alleged Qualcomm refused to license its technology on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms.

The plaintiffs said Qualcomm caused their clients to pay more for the licenses, which in turn resulted in higher prices for consumers. However, Qualcomm argued that other technologies and components go into a cellphone and the price paid by the consumer is not solely determined by the cost of the license.

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