Qualcomm COO Len Lauer talks to Stacey Higginbotham on stage at Mobilize 2009 in San Francisco.
Qualcomm may have to change its licensing agreements related to its chips in Japan after the country’s Fair Trade Commission today ordered it
to change the terms of those agreements that give it free access to patents held by manufacturers that use its chips. Qualcomm has 60 days to dispute the order, which it said in a statement that it plans to do in the form of an appeal — and possibly through the Japanese courts. Several Japanese phone makers have licensing agreements with Qualcomm, including Panasonic, Sharp and NEC.
The wireless chip company also faces a similar investigation tied to its licensing terms in Europe. And South Korea’s antitrust agency fined Qualcomm $200 million in July and ordered it to stop forcing companies such as Samsung and LG to bundle certain chipsets together under the Qualcomm license agreement. Qualcomm, which owns the intellectual property associated with the 3G CDMA networking standard, has a history of such disputes. Maybe it’s a good thing the company’s been preparing so hard for the wane of its 3G licensing gravy train.