Nvidia sues Qualcomm, claiming 'unlawful abuse of dominance' forced the shutdown of Icera

Nvidia is suing Qualcomm in London for unfairly forcing it to pull the plug on the Icera business it bought in 2011, Bloomberg reported.

A longtime player in the semiconductor market for PCs, Nvidia acquired Icera for $367 million in an effort to elbow its way in to the smartphone market. But it claims it was forced to exit the market last year due to Qualcomm's "unlawful abuse of dominance."

Bloomberg reported that Nvidia's suit claims Qualcomm's tactics resulted in "unexplained delays in customer orders, reductions in demand volumes and contracts never being entered into, even after a customer or mobile network cooperating with a prospective customer has agreed or expressed a strong intention to purchase" its chips.

The lawsuit follows December's news that the European Commission filed antitrust charges against Qualcomm claiming the company illegally paid an unnamed customer to use its chipsets exclusively, and sold chipsets below cost in an effort to force a competitor out of the market. Qualcomm is due to respond to those charges this month.

The company has faced regulatory challenges in other markets as well. Last year Qualcomm reportedly paid a fine of as much as $1 billion and agreed to cut its royalty rates by one-third on patents used in China to settle an investigation into its licensing practices there. Taiwan said in December it had launched an investigation into Qualcomm's patent licensing arrangements, and the company is facing a possible fine in South Korea over its licensing practices.

Nvidia hopes to win a judgment that Qualcomm's conduct was an abuse of a dominant position as well as compensation and some of Qualcomm's profits.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg report

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