Arm on Wednesday launched a lawsuit against Qualcomm, alleging the semiconductor giant violated a licensing agreement that governed the use of Arm’s chip designs by its recently acquired Nuvia unit.
Nuvia had developed new Arm-based chips as an independent company and purchased a license from Arm to use its technology in server processors. But after its acquisition by Qualcomm in 2021, Arm alleged that Qualcomm had failed to obtain proper permission to transfer Arm’s technology and chip designs based on it, or to create its own chips based on what Nuvia was developing.
“These technological achievements have taken years of research and significant cost and should be recognized and respected,” Arm said in a statement. “As an intellectual property company, it is our responsibility to protect our rights and the rights of our ecosystem.”
“Arm’s lawsuit marks an unfortunate departure from his long and successful relationship with Qualcomm. Arm has no right, contractual or otherwise, to attempt to interfere with Qualcomm’s or NUVIA’s innovations. Arm’s complaint ignores the fact that Qualcomm has extensive and well-established licensing rights covering its custom-designed processors, and we are confident that those rights will be upheld,” said Ann Chaplin, Qualcomm’s general counsel, in a statement. .
Arm’s lawsuit said it terminated Nuvia’s licenses in March 2022, which ended Qualcomm’s right to develop chips based on what Nuvia had made or to market such processors based on the Arm technology. The lawsuit seeks to force Qualcomm to destroy several designs based on Nuvia’s processors.
The litigation also seeks compensation for trademark infringement and an injunction to prevent further use of Arm’s trademarks related to chip designs developed by Nuvia. Arm seeks an undetermined amount of damages related to his allegations.
Qualcomm bought Nuvia for over $1 billion in 2021. Nuvia was founded by several former Apple and Google chip engineers in 2019 and was developing a number of Arm-based server chips prior to the acquisition.
At the time of the acquisition, Qualcomm said Nuvia would focus on consumer chips, and Qualcomm announced plans to make a desktop processor that would compete with Apple’s in-house M-series processors.
But one recent report suggested that Qualcomm had once again revived its server chip efforts – a previous attempt to crack the server market died years ago – leading to speculation among industry insiders chips that he planned to update Nuvia’s initial efforts based on Arm designs.
This story was updated as additional information became available, and later to include comments from Qualcomm.