South Korea: Court rejects Qualcomm request to suspend US$912m antitrust ruling

In the wake of the order filed by South Korea’s antitrust regulator in December 2016 to fine Qualcomm US$912 million, the company filed two lawsuits with the Seoul High Court. One lawsuit is calling for the Korean Fair Trade Commission’s (KFTC’s) decision to be quashed entirely, and a second asking for a temporary suspension until the first suit is resolved. In dismissing the second case on Monday, September 4, Reuters reported, the court said via a spokeswoman that the KFTC order didn’t risk “irreparable damage” to Qualcomm.

The Korean situation is at the root of the ongoing global legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm. In filing its lawsuit in January, Apple accused Qualcomm of withholding nearly US$1 billion in royalties as retaliation for cooperating with Korean antitrust investigators. On a broader level, it said Qualcomm was abusing its market dominance to demand unfair royalties on cellular baseband chips.

“Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined,” Apple said.

The conflict quickly escalated, with Qualcomm leveling countersuits, and Apple telling its manufacturers not to pay Qualcomm royalties. Backed by Apple, those manufacturers filed their own antitrust complaint. The US Federal Trade Commission is meanwhile pursuing a separate case against Qualcomm.

Full Content: Reuters

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