Qualcomm's Arrogance Costs It Dearly

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Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that two Qualcomm (QCOM) patents for video compression where not enforceable because the company "deliberately concealed the patents from a standards-setting group,", according to The Wall Street Journal. The court also said that the company had made false statements during the trial.

Arrogant or stupid, it is costing Qualcommi investors the future of the company.

On another front, rival Broadcom (BRCM) has succeeded in getting the ITC to block certain handsets with Qualcomm chips from coming into the US because they infringe on the smaller company’s patents.

Yesterday, Nokia (NOK), Qualcomm’s largest customer, said it would begin to buy chips from Broadcom. Verizon Wireless has already announced a licensing deal with BRCM to get around import restrictions due to the ITC ruling.

Much of this could have been avoided. Nokia’s license with Qualcomm came up for renewal in early April. It is still an open issue. The fact that Qualcomm would not nail down such a critical piece of business borders on irresponsibility. Qualcomm has also had the chance to license Broadcom technology and avoid legal actions that have damaged its ability to do business. Qualcomm’s actions have also alienated handset companies and carriers who need new phones to drive their businesses.

Investors are beginning to pay a price. Over the last year, Broadcom’s stock is up 40% to Qualcomm’s 20%, but over the last month, Qualcomm’s shares are down 7% and Broadcom’s are up 5%.

And, that is going to get worse for the Qualcomm holders.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at douglasamcintyre@247wallst.com. He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.