U.S. Antitrust officials set to sue Qualcomm over licensing practices

Officials in the U.S. are readying themselves to sue Qualcomm Inc. for using unfair practices in the way it licenses its technology.

Qualcomm, the biggest maker of semiconductors for mobile phones, disclosed in 2014 that the Federal Trade Commission was investigating its licensing practices and said an enforcement action could lead to a fine or changes to its business, Bloomberg reports.

The suit waiting to be filed in the U.S., would be yet another regulatory challenge to Qualcomm’s most profitable business, technology licensing.

These lawsuits have the potential have a serious impact on the chipmaker, which makes most of its profits from selling the rights to use patents that are essential to all modern mobile phone systems.

Qualcomm has argued that its licensing follows industry standards that have been in place for more than 20 years and are used by other companies.

Last month, South Korea, home to two of its largest customers, fined the company 1.03 trillion won (£696 million) and described its practices as monopolistic. The San Diego-based company said it will appeal that decision. Qualcomm is also the subject of investigations by the European Union and Taiwanese authorities.