Qualcomm urges U.S. court of appeals to reverse FTC antitrust ruling

Qualcomm Inc., a multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company, is reportedly urging a U.S. court of appeals to reverse its ruling on an antitrust case. According to the U.S 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, the company allegedly exploited its dominant position in the semiconductor industry and overcharged the cellphone makers in royalty fees for access to its essential patents.
In 2017, the antithrust case was issued against Qualcomm by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, during the last days of Barack Obama's presidency. The appeals court will hear oral arguments between U.S. FTC and Qualcomm.
Qualcomm supplies modem chips that connect devices with wireless data networks. Additionally, it generates vast revenue share from the vast patent portfolio on wireless telecommunications technology, which are essential to industry standards.
The Federal Trade Commission's lawsuit accused the company of using its lucrative patent portfolio to upscale its smartphone chip business. It allegedly refused patent licensing of chips to rival companies such as MediaTek Inc., based in Taiwan, and forced mobile phone manufacturers to sign license agreements in order to gain access to the patents, while calling for "no license, no chips".
The company is fighting the decision of a U.S. district judge who ruled in favor of the FTC in May 2019, citing belief that the company must change the business model as its patent licensing practices have strangled competition and harmed end consumers in the process. The district judge's appeal has been put on hold while the 9th Circuit Court considers Qualcomm's appeal.
Qualcomm is expected to receive some indication of the ruling before the final hearing from the three judges, which might be delayed for several months. Unexpectedly, a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer will make compelling arguments in support of Qualcomm.
According to Jonathan Rubin, MoginRubin's antitrust lawyer, the two parties rarely faced public dissents in the past. The antitrust case of FTC is also backed by Apple Inc., who filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, which was settled in 2019.
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