Qualcomm fined $774 million by Taiwanese government over CDMA antitrust

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In addition to being outed as an IP boogeyman in the tech industry, chipmaker Qualcomm now has three government agencies going after its licensing practices.

Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has issued a NT$23.4 billion (US$774 million) penalty for violating antitrust rules regarding the sale and control of CDMA, WCDMA and LTE modems in the market.

The Taiwan FTC began investigating the issue in February of 2015 and found that Qualcomm’s grasp of propriety on its patents regarding those chips to be monopolistic. The company has resisted licensing them out as standard essential patents to competitors upon the assumption of fair industry rates. For device OEMs, the company also entered into complicated kickback royalty schemes and threatened to withhold product if they went to the competition. As part of the penalties Qualcomm must negotiate with those competitors and update the government every 6 months.

Reuters reports the San Diego-based company is looking to seek a stay in the judgment and appeal the decision when it becomes finalized in the coming weeks.

Qualcomm paid a $975 million fine to Chinese regulators in 2015 over similar allegations and was forced to renegotiate contracts with major smartphone manufacturers. The Korea Fair Trade Commission issued an $854 million fine last year. The United States Federal Trade Commission is also pursuing litigation.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.