TECHNOLOGY
Qualcomm awarded millions in Apple suit

Qualcomm won the first U.S. jury trial in its global dispute with Apple over how much the iPhone maker should pay for using the chipmaker’s patented technology.

A federal jury in San Diego awarded Qualcomm about $31.6 million in damages on its patent infringement claims Friday, the amount Qualcomm had sought.

The verdict boosts Qualcomm’s contention that its patent portfolio provides significant value to smartphones beyond the ability to connect to a telecommunications network. The disputed patents pertain to technology for graphics processing and battery conservation, which the firm says improves the efficiency and reduces the cost of smartphones.

Apple and Qualcomm didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Qualcomm has lost billions of dollars in revenue after Apple stopped paying patent royalties in 2017.

— Bloomberg News

AIRLINE INDUSTRY
American Airlines stops Venezuela flights

American Airlines is stopping flights to Venezuela because of safety concerns after the pilots’ union told its members to refuse to work the flights.

American was the last major U.S. carrier to fly to the troubled country. It flew daily to Caracas and Maracaibo from Miami.

The airline said Friday that it temporarily stopped the flights as it evaluated conditions in Venezuela, where civil unrest has increased amid opposition to President Nicolás Maduro. “American will not operate to countries we don’t consider safe,” said spokesman Ross Feinstein.

The decision followed a union president’s order Thursday night that American Airlines pilots refuse Venezuela assignments.

Daniel Carey of the Allied Pilots Association noted that the State Department issued a warning about crime and detention of American citizens in Venezuela. The United States pulled its last diplomats out of the country Thursday.

— Associated Press

EMPLOYMENT
U.S. job openings increased in January

U.S. job openings rose in January as the employers in wholesale trade, real estate and government sought workers in a tight labor market.

The number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 102,000 to 7.58 million, from an upwardly revised 7.48 million in the prior month, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released Friday. The quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent as 5.55 million Americans left jobs.

The rising number of job openings add to evidence that employers are having difficulties in finding suitable workers. The February payroll figures pointed to the likelihood of a moderation in job gains this year as economic growth slows amid an uptick in wage gains.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

PwC agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that the firm was negligent in its audits of Colonial BancGroup, an Alabama bank that collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis. The FDIC announced the agreement on Friday. In July, a federal judge ordered the accounting firm to pay $625 million after ruling that it had failed in its audits of the bank from 2003 to 2005, and for 2008. PwC didn't design the audits to detect fraud or gather enough evidence, according to U.S. District Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein.

CBS directors agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle claims that they improperly awarded network owner Sumner Redstone millions of dollars in compensation after he became incapacitated in 2014. Board members of the nation's most-watched network agreed to resolve the investors' lawsuit, according to a March 14 filing in a Delaware state court. The money is slated go back into the network's coffers and not to individual shareholders, according to the filing.

U.S. factory production slumped for a second month in February, missing forecasts for a pickup, indicating head winds from the trade war to slower global growth are weighing on manufacturers. Still, the prior month's drop was revised up. Manufacturing output fell 0.4 percent after a revised 0.5 percent decline in January, Federal Reserve data showed Friday. Total industrial production, which also includes mines and utilities, rose 0.1 percent after a revised 0.4 percent decrease that was also upwardly revised.

— From news reports