According to The Verge, Qualcomm has suffered a major setback in a lawsuit that probes possible attempts to block competition in the US mobile market. A federal court in the United States has ruled that the company must license its modem patents to compete with chipmakers, potentially weakening a possible monopoly formation in the smartphone modem segment.
The case, in the hands of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since 2017 analyses whether Qualcomm, working only with the supply of parts and not with the licensing of its technologies, acts to prevent the advanced competition. The decision itself does not specifically address this issue, but under the ruling, Qualcomm would be disregarding agreements related to mobile phone standards, which were accepted only because the company agreed that it would license such technologies to all interested parties. It shows that the US government begins to take steps to avoid a dominance of the sector by the manufacturer.
Names such as Intel, Huawei and Samsung are nominally cited in the process as examples of companies to which Qualcomm must license the technologies “needed to manufacture a smartphone modem.” To date, such companies have been limited to licensing ancillary patents and should work only on supply agreements while, if interested in creating their own solutions, they should find an alternative path to that registered by the rival.
This decision is good news to the industry, since it could enable more companies to build modems or for those modems to be more competitive than today.
There is still appeal against the decision and Qualcomm has not ruled on the matter. Despite the negative news for the company, the federal court has not determined a maximum amount that can be charged for patents, another matter related to the ongoing process by the FTC.
It is not the first time that Qualcomm has been convicted of anti-competitive practices, but the ruling is unprecedented as to the influence of a regulatory body on corporate practices. Earlier, she had already been fined in the European Union, China, Taiwan, and North Korea for violating antitrust rules; currently faces similar disputes not only with governments from different territories but also with Apple.
Source: The Verge