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US: FTC antitrust case against Qualcomm officially starts

 |  January 6, 2019


On Friday, January 4, in California, the United States Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) antitrust case against chipset-maker Qualcomm officially started, reported Reuters.

The FTC accuses Qualcomm of abusing a monopoly on mobile chip technology, the company’s bread-and-butter. The outcome of the case could have major ramifications not only for Qualcomm’s business but the smartphone industry at large, reported Reuters The non-jury trial is expected to last for 10 days. Presiding Judge Lucy Koh will issue the verdict.

Qualcomm owns a number of key smartphone-related patents, and has often been accused of failing to follow FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) pricing.

Prior to the FTC action, Qualcomm had already been hit with a US$853 million fine in South Korea for similar practices. In fact, that case led directly to Apple filing a US$1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm, accusing it of withholding rebates in retaliation for cooperating with antitrust investigators.

“Qualcomm says you will pay our rates if you want our chips,” Jennifer Milici, an attorney for the FTC, said during opening arguments. “The only way to arrive at a market rate [for Qualcomm’s patents] is to negotiate without that threat.”

Full Content: Reuters

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