Arm is suing Qualcomm for its acquisition of chip company Nuvia, a company owned by, among others, ex-Apple chip designers. Arm accuses the companies of violating license agreements and trademark infringement.
The lawsuit revolves around the Arm licenses that Nuvia holds. That company worked on chip designs based on those licenses. Arm states that these cannot be transferred to Qualcomm without permission. As a result, Nuvia’s licenses were revoked earlier this year after transfer negotiations failed. claims Arm. The company wants Qualcomm to be ordered by the court to destroy “certain designs” of Nuvia. Arm also asks for a ‘trade mark infringement ban’ and damages.
“Because Qualcomm has attempted to transfer Nuvia licenses without Arm’s consent, which is a standard limitation under Arm’s licensing agreements, Nuvia’s licenses have been terminated in March 2022,” Arm wrote in a statement. “Before and after that date, Arm has made several attempts in good faith to find a solution. In contrast, Qualcomm has violated the terms of the Arm license agreement by continuing development under the terminated licenses.”
Qualcomm tells Reuters that Arm “has no right to interfere with Qualcomm’s or Nuvia’s innovations.” “Arm’s complaint ignores the fact that Qualcomm has broad and well-established licensing rights to its proprietary CPUs, and we’re confident those rights will be upheld,” said Ann Chaplin, Qualcomm’s general counsel. A “source close to Arm” tells Reuters that the licenses Qualcomm holds are not being challenged and that only technology developed under Nuvia’s licenses is being challenged in the lawsuit.
Qualcomm acquired Nuvia last year for $1.4 billion. Nuvia is a company of ex-chip designers from Apple that is working on its own Arm cores for servers. Qualcomm plans to use Nuvia’s designs in its own Snapdragon laptops from next year. With this, the company wants to compete with processor makers such as Intel, AMD and Apple. Qualcomm already makes laptop CPUs, but they use cores designed by Arm, which puts the company far behind Apple, which designs Arm cores itself. It is therefore one of Qualcomm’s largest strategic acquisitions in recent years. The legal dispute with Arm could potentially hinder or nullify that move. The case has been filed in the US Delaware District Court. It is not known when this occurs.
Qualcomm plans to release the first Snapdragon chips based on Nuvia designs next year.