Ah, the ups and downs of life just over a month after the multi-billion dollar deal between Apple and Qualcomm, the chip maker was officially accused of anticompetitive practices in the case against Federal Trade Commission (FTC) It's basically what started it all in early 2017.
The decision was issued by juza Lucy Koh, who concluded that the Qualcomm's business practices violate federal antitrust laws from United States. The information is from FOSS Patents.
In the 233-page report, Qualcomm was ordered to renegotiate existing license terms so that they are separate from any patent licensing agreement (practice known as “no license, no chips”).
Renegotiating existing contracts means that today's decision will have significant implications for recent agreement with Apple, since it was also agreed that Qualcomm should make new terms without threatening to cut off access to its modems, software and technical support.
Qualcomm shall not condition the provision of chips based on a customer's patent license status and shall negotiate or renegotiate the license terms with good faith customers under conditions that do not threaten them with regard to access or provision of chips. and software or associated technical support.
Qualcomm should certainly appeal the decision, but the patent specialist and founder of FOSS PatentsFlorian Mueller believes the company has little room to appeal due to "undisputed evidence of violation".
Among other requirements, Qualcomm must also make patent licenses available to competitors of competing modems under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, or FRAND) and may not enter into exclusive arrangements for the supply of new chips.
The list of companies that have agreements with Qualcomm and were analyzed as follows:
- LG Electronics;
- And other Chinese manufacturers.
It is unclear whether Apple knew or had any indication that the FTC would win its case against Qualcomm (so that would have any implication about its imbroglio with the manufacturer). However, the Cupertino giant knows that Qualcomm is a leader in 5G chip development and that this is its only short-term option to enter the market.
Neither Qualcomm nor Apple have commented on juza Koh's decision for now. Recall the evolution of the case between the chip maker and the US oversight agency here.