BlackBerry wins something for once: $815M from Qualcomm


by Joan E. Solsman April 12, 2017 6:45 AM PDT @joan_e

BlackBerry won an $814.9 million award from chipmaker Qualcomm as a refund for royalty payments, the phone maker said Wednesday.

The award, which resulted from an arbitration process, effectively ends the licensing dispute between the two companies. They were fighting over whether BlackBerry's royalties to Qualcomm should be included in an agreement that caps some licensing payments. In other words, should BlackBerry get money back for paying too much?

In a statement, Qualcomm said it disagrees. But it acknowledged the ruling is binding and can't be appealed.

Meanwhile, the chipmaker said, the arbitration ruling "has no impact on agreements with any other licensee."

Qualcomm is also embroiled in a licensing lawsuit with Apple.

The award is a win for BlackBerry, which has grappled with diminished stature in the mobile phone market for years. After controlling nearly a fifth of phone sales in 2009, BlackBerry now powers less than half a percent of phones, in a market dominated by devices running Google's Android system and by Apple's iPhone.

The $814.9 million award is preliminary. As part of the arbitration process, the final award will be set at an upcoming hearing that will add in interest and attorneys' fees.

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