A US appeals court handed Qualcomm a win in an ongoing battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its patent licensing practices, overturning an earlier ruling which would have forced the company to renegotiate old deals with customers.

In its decision, the appeals court determined the FTC failed to prove Qualcomm’s alleged conduct impaired the opportunities of rivals in violation of competition law, noting “profit-seeking behaviour alone is insufficient to establish antitrust liability”.

Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm EVP and general counsel, said in a statement the ruling “validates our business model and patent licensing programme and underscores the tremendous contributions that Qualcomm has made to the industry”.

The FTC filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm in January 2017, claiming the company used anti-competitive tactics to maintain a dominant position in the semiconductor market. A judge ruled in the regulator’s favour in May 2019, ordering the company to strike new deals with its customers.

Qualcomm promptly appealed the decision, with its case bolstered by support from the Department of Justice, which claimed a damaging ruling against the company could harm national security by weakening its ability to compete with Chinese rivals.