Qualcomm Wins Bid To Undo 250 Million Member Antitrust Class

Qualcomm won its bid to undo a district court order certifying a class of 250 million people in antitrust litigation over its alleged monopoly over modern cell phone chips, after the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said Wednesday, September 29, the court erred in its choice of law analysis.

Because of differences in relevant state law, common issues of law don’t predominate, the court stated, vacating the district court’s order certifying a nationwide indirect purchaser class in the multidistrict litigation.

Judges Eugene E. Siler, Jay S. Bybee, and Ryan D. Nelson joined in the ruling.

The case is Stromberg v. Qualcomm, it seeks to enforce antitrust laws against Qualcomm. The plaintiff class, certified in September 2018, alleges that Qualcomm inflated mobile phone prices by its refusal to license standard essential patents for mobile phone chips on FRAND terms. The class includes every mobile phone buyer in the United States since 2011—250 million people. The class argues that the holding in FTC v. Qualcomm is not binding while Qualcomm argues that it is.

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