More Bad News For Qualcomm

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Qualcomm (QCOM) got more bad news yesterday. It largest customer, Nokia (NOK) filed a complaint with the ITC to ban imports of handsets that the big European company says infringe on its patents.

QCOM has already lost a similar ruling to its rival Broadcom (BRCM) that prevents certain patent-infringing phones from being brought into the US. QCOM says that a related patent ruling could cost the company $2.4 billion over five years. It has not put a price tag on the ITC decision.

According to MarketWatch, Nokia’s CFO said: "We are taking this action to stop Qualcomm’s practice of copying Nokia’s patented technology, without permission, and making these innovations available to its chipset customers. "

QCOM cannot afford any more negative decisions from courts and government agencies. Its arrogant attitude toward negotiating licenses with customers and rivals have already cost its dearly. Another ban on import of its products could be a terrible set-back for the firm.

With its shares already down from almost $48 to $37 over the last 52 weeks, the pressure is on the company’s CEO and son of the founder to fix the problem.

Or to leave and let someone else take the wheel.

Douglas A. McIntyre