A U.S. federal judge reportedly ruled that shareholders who sued chipmaker Qualcomm for allegedly concealing anti-competitive sales and licensing practices could bring claims against the company in the form of a class action lawsuit.
The shareholders, in a lawsuit filed in San Diego, California, allege that Qualcomm and its executives repeatedly portrayed its business of selling chips and licensing its technology to other companies as separate from each other, when in fact the company tied them together, thereby affecting fair competition.
Investors who played a leading role in the case say the misrepresentations artificially inflated Qualcomm’s stock price between 2012 and 2017.
Qualcomm, for its part, says the shareholders’ allegations are unfounded.
U.S. District Judge Jinsook Ohta on Monday rejected Qualcomm’s argument that the sales were public.
The judge said Qualcomm’s response to the regulator’s antitrust allegations revealed “more details” about the practices and the affected customers.
Those affected include investors who purchased Qualcomm common stock between Feb. 1, 2012, and Jan. 20, 2017, and suffered losses.
Qualcomm paid 1.03 trillion won ($912.34 million) to the South Korean Fair Trade Commission in 2017 for what the regulator said were business practices that violated fair competition in licensing and chip sales.
In addition, Qualcomm faces a consumer lawsuit in California in which the plaintiff alleges that its practices violated the state’s laws.