June 17, 2010 / 10:36 AM / 9 years ago

EU analysing antitrust complaint against Qualcomm

* EU says no formal investigation at this stage

* Qualcomm says Icera allegations similar to old complaints

Icera declines comment

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, June 17 (Reuters) - EU regulators, who dropped an antitrust investigation into Qualcomm (QCOM.O) seven months ago, are looking into a complaint by a British company accusing the U.S. wireless chip firm of anticompetitive activity.

A European Commission spokeswoman declined to identify the British company on Thursday but Qualcomm said the complainant was Icera, a privately held firm backed by venture investors Accel Partners, Atlas Venture, Amadeus Capital Partners, Balderton Capital, Tudor Investment Corp and Encore Ventures.

“There is no investigation at this stage, there is the usual fact-finding exercise when we receive a complaint,” said Amelia Torres, a spokeswoman for the Commission, the European Union’s antitrust watchdog.

Icera declined to comment, while Qualcomm said the allegations lacked merit.

“We do note, however, the similarity between Icera’s allegations and those in complaints made previously to the EU, which apparently failed to persuade the Commission and were ultimately withdrawn,” the company said in a statement.

Founded in 2002, Icera makes chips for USB modem sticks, laptops, netbooks and smartphones. It has operations in Britain, France, North America and China.

The EU watchdog scrapped its four-year investigation last November after Ericsson (ERICb.ST), the world’s biggest maker of mobile network equipment, withdrew its complaint over Qualcomm’s royalties and licensing terms.

Texas Instruments TXN.N, Qualcomm’s biggest wireless chip rival, also withdrew its complaint on the same day.

Finnish cellphone maker Nokia NOK1V.HE and Broadcom Corp BRCM.O had earlier dropped their cases against Qualcomm after reaching settlements with the company. Other complainants included NEC Corp (6701.T) and Panasonic (6752.T). (Editing by Michael Shields))

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