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Qualcomm Files More Complaints Against Chinese Phone Maker

The chip maker wants Meizu to sign a patent license agreement for technologies related to 3G and 4G, but the device vendor is pushing back.

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Qualcomm is ramping up the pressure in its patent infringement dispute with Meizu Technology by filing more than a dozen more complaints against the Chinese smartphone maker.

Company officials on June 30 announced that it filed the new complaints with the country's Intellectual Property Courts in Beijing and Shanghai, claiming Meizu is continuing to use the chip maker's technologies in its smartphones without signing a patent licensing agreement. The 17 new complaints come a week after Qualcomm filed the first one.

The patents at issue cover an array of features and technologies, including some related to 3G (WCDMA and CDMA2000) and 4G LTE wireless communications standards.

Qualcomm officials are hoping to press Meizu to agree to terms in a patent licensing agreement the two sides have been negotiating for more than a year. The terms are consistent with an agreement Qualcomm reached early last year with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)—China's antitrust arm—that settled an antitrust investigation against the chip maker. As part of the settlement, the chip maker agreed to pay a $975 million fine and to parameters for patent licensing deals with Chinese device makers.

More than 100 smartphone makers have signed licensing deals with Qualcomm, but Meizu hasn't. The chip maker accused Meizu of using delay tactics rather than negotiating, and hadn't replied to Qualcomm's last offer in April.

"Meizu has refused to engage in good-faith negotiations despite admitting that it sells products that infringe Qualcomm's valuable Chinese patents," Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel at Qualcomm, said in a statement. "Meizu is attempting to obtain an unfair and improper cost advantage over its competitors. Regrettably, we must turn to court actions in order to protect our rights, and importantly, to maintain fairness and a level playing field."

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Meizu officials sound like they are ready to battle Qualcomm in court. At a press conference earlier this week, Meizu Vice President Li Nan said his company is "willing to negotiate to reach an agreement ... but we want a fair and reasonable price." Li also demanded that Meizu be able to see what the agreements with other smartphone makers entail.

"We need to see those other patent-licensing agreements, so we can determine if the [proposed] deal with Meizu is fair," he said.