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BlackBerry wins something for once: $815M from Qualcomm

It's due for a big refund on royalties it paid Qualcomm, a binding decision that the chipmaker says won't affect a similar case with Apple.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman

BlackBerry bested Qualcomm in arbitration, to the tune of about $815 million.


BlackBerry won an $814.9 million award from chipmaker Qualcomm as a refund for royalty payments, the phone maker said Wednesday.

The award, which resulted from an arbitration process, effectively ends the licensing dispute between the two companies. They were fighting over whether BlackBerry's royalties to Qualcomm should be included in an agreement that caps some licensing payments. In other words, should BlackBerry get money back for paying too much?

In a statement, Qualcomm said it disagrees. But it acknowledged the ruling is binding and can't be appealed.

Meanwhile, the chipmaker said, the arbitration ruling "has no impact on agreements with any other licensee."

Qualcomm is also embroiled in a licensing lawsuit with Apple.

The award is a win for BlackBerry, which has grappled with diminished stature in the mobile phone market for years. After controlling nearly a fifth of phone sales in 2009, BlackBerry now powers less than half a percent of phones, in a market dominated by devices running Google's Android system and by Apple's iPhone.

The $814.9 million award is preliminary. As part of the arbitration process, the final award will be set at an upcoming hearing that will add in interest and attorneys' fees.

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