Qualcomm could soon settle patent dispute with Huawei: WSJ report

Qualcomm is believed to have been in a patent dispute with Huawei since April 2017.

Along with Huawei, Qualcomm is in a patent dispute with Apple as well.
Along with Huawei, Qualcomm is in a patent dispute with Apple as well. (REUTERS)

Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc is in talks to settle a patent dispute with China's Huawei Technologies Co and could reach an agreement in the coming weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The negotiations between Qualcomm and Huawei are well along, according to the report.

Qualcomm declined to comment, while Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Qualcomm is fending off a $117 billion hostile takeover bid from Broadcom Ltd. Broadcom has said it would smooth Qualcomm's rocky relations with customers if it took over the San Diego mobile chipmaker, which has prompted Qualcomm to try to pre-empt those efforts by patching up customer disputes on its own.

Qualcomm has been in a dispute with two major patent license customers: Apple Inc and an unnamed licensee that stopped paying royalties in April 2017. Analysts believed that licensee was Huawei.

That belief grew stronger in January when Qualcomm announced it had reached a set of agreements licensing and research agreements with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. That ruled out the South Korean Android handset maker as the mystery non-paying customer.

During a January earnings call with investors, Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said the company was still in talks with the mystery customer, as it had been since the dispute was first disclosed.

"So on the unnamed other licensee, our practice is ... it's productive to continue with negotiations and that we don't name the licensee in the dispute. It's only when we get to the point where we feel like we've exhausted all practical activities there (that Qualcomm would name the customer), and so you should take that as we're still negotiating to see if we can resolve the dispute," Rosenberg told investors.