A US appeals court granted Qualcomm a reprieve, allowing it to maintain its current business practices while it fights to overturn an earlier ruling which found it engaged in anti-competitive behaviour.

Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm EVP and general counsel, said in a statement a stay granted by the court “keeps intact Qualcomm’s patent-licensing practices,” allowing the company “to continue to invest in inventing the fundamental technologies at the heart of mobile communications at this critical time of transition to 5G”.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2017 filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, accusing it of strong-arming customers into paying excessive patent licensing fees. In May, a judge sided with the FTC, ordering Qualcomm to overhaul its licensing practices and renegotiate old deals.

Qualcomm vowed to appeal the decision, but its request to delay implementation of the judge’s order during the appeals process was denied.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday (23 August) overruled that decision, granting Qualcomm’s plea for a stay.

In its ruling, the appeals court said Qualcomm raised “serious questions” about the merits of the May order and demonstrated the “probability of irreparable harm” if it was enforced during the appeals process.

It added it will hear Qualcomm’s appeal in January 2020.