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FTC files lawsuit against Qualcomm alleging 'anti-competitive'

FTC files lawsuit against Qualcomm alleging 'anti-competitive'

Up until 2016, Apple only used Qualcomm modems in its line of iPhones, deviating from the norm with the iPhone 7.

"Despite an appeal from members of Congress to refrain from "midnight litigation" with novel and untested legal theories that could damage competition in the US, the FTC accelerated the investigation of Qualcomm and directed the filing of the complaint just days before the change of the Administration though only three of five FTC commissioners are in place". The company also refuses to license standard-essential patents to competitors, the FTC said. The KTFC levied similar charges of failing to license standards-essential patents to competitors and forcing customers to agree to unfair terms including "making them provide [the customer's] patents for free".

According to the FTC, Qualcomm uses its position and its portfolio of patents to impose "onerous and anticompetitive supply and licensing terms on cell phone manufacturers", negatively impacting its competitors.

The FTC, which works with the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law, said that Qualcomm used its dominance in supplying baseband processors used in smartphones and tablets to extract elevated royalties for patents in what the complaint dubbed a "no license-no chips" policy.

The deal allegedly included "substantial incentive payments" on the condition that Apple would continue using Qualcomm's baseband processors "exclusively" in all iPhone and iPad models from 2011 and 2012.




FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen voted against the filing that passed in a 2-1 decision.

Qualcomm said it will appeal both cases. "That pleading failure is no accident; it speaks to the dearth of evidence in this case".

Rosenberg is referring to the fact that Donald Trump will be sworn in as the next President of the United States on January 20.

It's a comprehensive and serious set of allegations, and the FTC is looking to secure a court order which would not only prevent Qualcomm from doing any of this in future, but also undo what is has already agreed with phone manufacturers.

Qualcomm General Counsel Don Rosenberg said in a prepared statement that it is an extremely disappointing decision to rush to file a complaint on the eve of FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez's departure and the transition to a new administration. We look forward to defending our business in federal court, where we are confident we will prevail on the merits.

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