South Korean court ruled that Qualcomm would appeal against a $6 billion antitrust fine

 South Korean court ruled that Qualcomm would appeal against a $6 billion antitrust fine

Surging news reporter Bao YuMeng intern Ji Wenhui comprehensive report

Qualcomm, the US chip giant, was fined again, this time by South Koreas anti-monopoly law enforcement agency.

On December 4, according to Yonhap news agency, a court in South Korea ruled that it was lawful for antitrust law enforcement agencies to impose a 1.03 trillion won (6.09 billion yuan) fine on Qualcomm for forcing it to sign unequal contracts.

On the same day, the Seoul High Court ruled that Qualcomm and other three companies filed a lawsuit to the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea to order corrective measures to cancel the lawsuit. In March 2016, the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea determined that Qualcomm had bullied the market by linking the supply of modem chipsets with patent rights, monopolizing patent rights, imposing fines and ordering it to make corrections.

Qualcomm said it would take action against the ruling, Reuters reported. We do not agree to accept part of the courts decision on the kftc regulatory order and will seek an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court of Korea, Qualcomm executive vice president don Rosenberg said in a statement

Qualcomms dispute with the Korea Fair Trade Commission began in 2016. In March of that year, the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea proposed that Qualcomms connection between the supply of modem chipsets and patent rights was unreasonable, and it was suspected of monopolizing patent rights, so it would be fined and ordered to make corrections.

According to the Korea Fair Trade Commission, Qualcomms chipset is an integral part of mobile phone manufacturing, and Qualcomm forces mobile phone manufacturers to pay for unnecessary patents when selling chips. In addition, Qualcomm also refused to license standard essential patents to other modem chip manufacturers, or restricted the licensing, which made the contract content unilaterally beneficial to itself and gradually strengthened its market influence.

In addition, kftc also requires Qualcomm to discuss patent licensing with competitors (other chip manufacturers) at a reasonable price. If necessary, we need to work out a new chip supply agreement with mobile phone manufacturers.

On December 28 of that year, the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea formally imposed a fine of 1.03 trillion won on Qualcomm, a US chip manufacturer, on suspicion of impeding market competition, setting a record for anti-monopoly fines in South Korea. The Fair Trade Commission of Korea ordered Qualcomm to provide chipset manufacturers with standard essential patents (SEP) in a fair, reasonable and non discriminatory manner.

This is not the first time Qualcomm has faced an antitrust fine. In July, EU antitrust authorities also fined Qualcomm 242 million euros ($270 million), saying it hindered competition in the baseband chip market, leaving competitors with no business to do and hindering competition in the baseband chip market. But Qualcomm disagrees.

In January last year, Qualcomm was fined 997 million euros ($1.23 billion) by the European Unions antitrust regulator for paying apple for exclusive access to Qualcomm chips and crowding out competitors such as Intel.

Earlier in 2015, Qualcomm was fined 6.088 billion yuan by Chinas anti-monopoly law enforcement authorities. At the time, Qualcomm was accused of abusing market dominance. It mainly includes: charging unfair high price patent license fee; tying non wireless standard necessary patent license; attaching unreasonable conditions in baseband chip sales.

In addition to accepting the fine, Qualcomm also promised to Chinese regulators that it would provide 3G and 4G patent licenses to Chinese mobile phone manufacturers independently and would not be tied with other Qualcomm patents. And substantial allowance shall be made for the authorized expenses.

Source: Qiao JunJing, editor in charge of surging news