It must be nice when you have to work hard at ways to spend an ever-growing pile of cash. Companies with high margins and strong cash flows tend to pile up greenbacks very quickly. Witness Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) $25.5 billion stash and Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) $22.3 billion cache.

Wireless technology innovator and cash machine Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has joined these elite ranks as its royalty income has ballooned with the sales of hundreds of millions of wireless devices using its technology every year. And while Microsoft went out of control to unload $6 billion for aQuantive, Qualcomm recently chose a more immediate way to spend a portion of its $6.6 billion stash to benefit investors by authorizing the repurchase of another $3 billion worth of outstanding shares.

The board of directors of the $77 billion San Diego company approved the plan to supersede the current $2.5 billion buyback plan that still had $865 million available for share purchases. This expansion of its share-buyback plan builds upon the company's larger strategy of returning value to shareholders, which also includes a regular dividend that currently yields 1.2%.

On top of this, the company dedicates huge reserves to research and development, with R&D as a percentage of revenue averaging around 17% over the past couple of years. This high level of R&D spending, the increased share buyback, and a 30% dividend payout ratio all demonstrate Qualcomm's continued confidence that it will generate more than enough cash to fund business operations going forward.

The only real threats to the continued stream of cash flowing in to fund these perks are lawsuits and antitrust complaints pushed by Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM). Nokia, in particular, is attempting to break the royalty dynasty that Qualcomm has enjoyed for 15 years by refusing to license next-generation technologies on terms similar to its original patent license agreement. Nokia is hoping that it and other equipment manufacturers such as Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) will be largely relieved of paying royalties to Qualcomm going forward.

But with the $200 million that Qualcomm intends to spend on legal defense this year, the company is going to great lengths to ensure that it can keep giving back to shareholders.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock can think of many creative ways to spend $3 billion, including a custom private jumbo jet with a home theatre and hot tub. He owns shares of Qualcomm and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.