Qualcomm’s settlement with BlackBerry has reached a whopping $940 million

blackberry uni touchscreen retractable keyboard logo
adrianhancu/123RF
BlackBerry just keeps on winning against Qualcomm. While the company was previously awarded $815 million in its case against Qualcomm, the settlement has now reached a hefty $940 million — a sum that Qualcomm has agreed to pay on or before May 31. BlackBerry confirmed the news in a press release.

The specifics of the refund remain unclear — Qualcomm said it is for sales of “subscriber units” — but at the core of the dispute is licensing fees BlackBerry paid in advance to Qualcomm. The smartphone maker argued that an agreed-upon caps on royalties was never applied, and Qualcomm argued that the payments were nonrefundable.

Qualcomm, unsurprisingly, said it disagreed with the court’s ruling. But it acknowledged that it was binding and that it “[had] no impact on agreements with any other licensee,” a Qualcomm spokesperson said.

It’s the latest in a string of legal blows against Qualcomm. In January, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued the San Diego, California-based company for anti-competitive practices, accusing it of using its dominant market position to edge out competition. The FTC alleged that Qualcomm gave its partners two choices: Pay pricey royalties for the use of its patents or limit the sale of their devices to smaller markets.

The FTC said that Qualcomm abused standards-essential patents — patents that must be licensed at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates — by refusing to license them directly to competing suppliers. The FTC characterized Qualcomm’s fees as “disproportionately high” relative to its competitors and said that consumers ultimately paid the inflated prices.

Apple later filed its own $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm (and subsequent suits in two other countries) over royalties for basic patents, claiming that Qualcomm forced it to pay excessive fees and withheld nearly $1 billion “as retaliation for responding truthfully to law [South Korean] enforcement agencies investigating them.”

“Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined,” Apple said in a statement.

Qualcomm cut Apple a discount in exchange for agreeing not to source competitors’ wireless modems for five years. That reportedly hampered silicon giants like Intel, which for years have tried to break into the smartphone chip space.

In a statement, Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said that Apple had “intentionally mischaracterized” Qualcomm’s practices and has been “actively encouraging regulatory attacks on Qualcomm’s business” around the world. “We welcome the opportunity to have these meritless claims heard in court, where we will be entitled to full discovery of Apple’s practices and a robust examination of the merits,” Rosenberg said.

Updated on 05-26-2017 by Christian de Looper: Added news that settlement has reached $940 million.

Product Review

This is the best budget laptop you can buy

One of our favorite laptops, the Asus Zenbook UX330UA, has been updated to feature the 8th-gen Intel Core CPU. It's still the best budget laptop on the market, offering great battery life and zippy performance at a discounted price.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.
Mobile

Get ready for more V-series phones: LG trademarks names up to the V90

It looks like we should get ready for more LG V-series phones. LG has trademarked names for the LG V50 all the way up to the LG V90. We may have to wait some time before we see these phones; the next LG flagship is expected to be the LG G8.
Mobile

Google rolls out Night Sight to Pixel 3 and 3 XL camera app

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

You can now message businesses straight through Google Maps

Google has been updating Maps with a ton of new features over the past few months, and now it's back with another one -- the ability for users to message businesses directly through the Maps app.
Mobile

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.
Mobile

Sharp doubles down on the notch trend with Aquos R2 Compact

As if one notch wasn't enough, Japanese manufacturer Sharp unveiled a new smartphone that has two -- one teardrop style notch at the top, and a bigger notch at the bottom. Here's what the world's first dual-notch smartphone looks like.
Mobile

Verizon has made its first 5G video call … with a phone that’s already out

Verizon has announced that it has successfully made its first video call, using a smartphone that's already available: The Motorola Moto Z3. To make the call, Verizon used the 5G Moto Mod.