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U.S. appeals court reverses antitrust ruling against Qualcomm

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling against chip supplier Qualcomm Inc in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also vacated an injunction that would have required Qualcomm to change its intellectual property licensing practices.

The decision amounted to a near complete victory for the San Diego company, the largest supplier of chips for mobile phones and also a key generator of wireless communications intellectual property and industry standards.

Qualcomm was fighting a May 2019 decision by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. That judge sided with antitrust regulators, writing that Qualcomm’s practice of requiring phone makers to sign a patent license agreement before selling them chips “strangled competition” and harmed consumers.

The case divided antitrust regulators in the U.S. government, with the U.S. Department of Justice intervening to file a brief in support of Qualcomm.

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Qualcomm shares, which were already up since March lows as the company continued to show growth despite a sluggish smart phone market, rose about 4% on the news.

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