Qualcomm building in San Diego
A Qualcomm sign is pictured at one of its many campus buildings in San Diego. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Qualcomm and the Federal Trade Commission completed closing arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit accusing the San Diego wireless pioneer of monopoly pricing.

The two sides each presented hour-long closing arguments before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose in a case that could have a major impact on the smartphone industry.

“The FTC hasn’t come close to meeting its burden of proof in this case. All real-world evidence presented at trial showed how Qualcomm’s years of R&D and innovation fostered competition, and growth for the entire mobile economy to the benefit of consumers around the world,” said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm following the hearing.

FTC attorney Jennifer Milici accused Qualcomm of using its power in the 3G and 4G chip markets to force Apple and other smartphone makers to sign licensing agreements with excessively high royalties. But Qualcomm disputed that accusation.

“Our licensing rates — which were set long before we had a chip business, and revalidated time and again — fairly and accurately reflect the value of our patent portfolio,” said Rosenberg. “Qualcomm’s technology has been the foundation of a thriving, competitive industry.”

Following the closing arguments, Koh advised the parties not to expect a quick decision because of the magnitude of the case and large amount of documentation.

For the FTC to win, it must prove that Qualcomm had a monopoly and used that to command high royalties in negotiations with smartphone makers.

Court proceedings began Jan. 4. The FTC completed its case on Jan. 15, and Qualcomm rested its defense on Friday.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.