Qualcomm facing £664 million fine in Korea

July 18, 2016 // 12 p.m.

Tags: #china #fair-trade #fair-trade-commission #fine #frand #ftc #korea #patent #qualcomm #south-korea

Mobile and embedded specialist Qualcomm is facing a £664 million fine from South Korea's Fair Trade Commission over claims the company acted in an anti-competitive manner.

According to local news outlet The Korea Times the nation's Fair Trade Commission announced the preliminary conclusion of a 17-month investigation into Qualcomm's business practices on Friday with the recommendation of a trillion-Won (approximately £664 million) fine. 'The FTC's mission is to encourage fair market competition between market players. Qualcomm's business model is still controversial because it charges excessively high licensing fees and requires unfair conditions for use of its patents,' a spokesperson told the paper.

The investigation, launched last year, looked into complaints that the US company charges exorbitantly high royalties for the use of its standard essential patents (SEPs) related to CDMA mobile technology - patents which South Korean law requires are licensed under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. These charges are claimed to have been based on the retail value of the handset or device in which the patent is to be used, rather than on the value of the chipset within said device.

The ruling, which has yet to be finalised, comes after Qualcomm was found by Chinese antitrust authorities to be acting in an anti-competitive manner in February last year, a decision which resulted in a £737 million fine.
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