Qualcomm asks for US ban on 'infringing' smartmobes

Cheap-and-cheerful Chinese vendors aren't paying their dues

Qualcomm's trade troubles have taken a new twist, with the company launching a trade complaint to get some Chinese vendors banned from the USA.

In an action filed with the US International Trade Commission (ITC), the chip company takes issue with two companies operating under smartphone maker Zhuhai Meizu's banner, along with Dest Technology and LYGD in China and Chicago-based Overseas Electronics (as importer).

The core of the complaint is whether the Zhuhai Meizu smartphones infringe on Qualcomm's patents.

To get to the bottom of it, the ITC's put together a panel to comb through ICs, cameras, and system-on-chip technology the Chinese manufacturers are using.

Qualcomm is hoping the ITC will ban allegedly-infringing devices from America.

China has long been a difficult market for Qualcomm. It fought a lengthy antitrust battle with Chinese regulators. Its counter-claim was that vendors were under-reporting the number of chips they used so as to avoid royalty payments, but ultimately it knuckled under, paying nearly US$1 billion in fines and rejigging its license terms.

The settlement helped boost the results it reported in July this year, as vendors started feeding it top-up payments. The company now claims nine out of China's top ten smartphone makers have signed licensing deals.

With Chinese regulators now satisfied, Qualcomm may feel it can start to pick off miscreants without worrying about official retribution.

The company's also had antitrust trouble in South Korea. ®

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