Chipmaker Arm is taking fellow silicon giant Qualcomm – and its Nuvia subsidiary – to courts to settle a breach of licensing agreement spat. Arm owner Softbank is also adding trademark infringement to the lawsuit.
In quite a direct language, Arm is specifically asking for the courts to force Nuvia to “destroy” the Nuvia Phoenix Core CPU. Furthermore, the company is seeking an injunction against Qualcomm for the trademark infringement and also wants “fair compensation”.
Arm Vice President Phil Hughes issued a statement explaining why the company took legal action. He alleges Qualcomm tried to transfer Nuvia licenses without informing Arm. As a consequence, the company decided to end those license agreements in March this year.
Despite the termination of the agreement, Hughes says Qualcomm continued to develop products based on the license:
“Arm made multiple good faith efforts to seek a resolution. In contrast, Qualcomm has breached the terms of the Arm license agreement by continuing development under the terminated licenses. Arm was left with no choice other than to bring this claim against Qualcomm and Nuvia to protect our IP, our business, and to ensure customers are able to access valid Arm-based products.”
Qualcomm, which has close commercial ties to Arm, says the company has no right to interfere with innovations developed by Nuvia:
“Arm’s complaint ignores the fact that Qualcomm has broad, well-established license rights covering its custom-designed CPU’s, and we are confident those rights will be affirmed,” says Ann Chaplin, General Counsel of Qualcomm in a statement.
Qualcomm uses Arm licensing to underpin many of its chip designs. Nuvia also had a long-term licensing agreement with Arm before it was bought by Qualcomm for $1.4 billion in 2021. The company was founded in 2019 by Gerard Williams, an ex-Apple executive with experience with chipsets.
In fact, Williams was the chief architect of iPhone CPUs at Apple. Qualcomm bought Nuvia to driver Arm processing on Windows in the same way Apple was able to when embracing Arm. It is unclear how the legal battle will affect commercial relationships between the two companies.
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