US antitrust enforcers are abandoning their lawsuit against Qualcomm that accused the company of abusing its dominant position in chips that power smartphones, reported by Bloomberg.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Monday, March 29, that it won’t seek a Supreme Court review of a federal appeals court decision last year that found Qualcomm’s practices weren’t anticompetitive.
The decision formally ends litigation that began in January 2017 when the FTC in the closing days of the Obama administration sued Qualcomm. The agency won at trial, but the decision was reversed by a three-judge panel on the US appeals court in San Francisco. The full court declined to reconsider the decision.
FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who wasn’t on the Commission when the lawsuit was filed, said in a statement that although she agreed with the trial court decision that Qualcomm violated antitrust laws, the FTC is facing “significant headwinds” in trying to overturn the appeals court ruling.
“Now more than ever, the FTC and other law enforcement agencies need to boldly enforce the antitrust laws to guard against abusive behavior by dominant firms, including in high-technology markets and those that involve intellectual property,” she said.
When it was filed, the Qualcomm case represented one of the rare examples of US antitrust officials taking action to stop allegedly anticompetitive conduct by a major company to protect its dominant position in a market.