Qualcomm to Appeal Taiwan Fair Trade Commission's Decision in Investigation


In yet another blow to its business model and patent licensing practice, Qualcomm - one of the leading chipmaker for smartphones, has been fined a record NT$23.4 billion ($774 million) by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission.

The regulator said Qualcomm abused its position by not providing products to clients who don't agree with its conditions. The commission said that the company's dominance in CDMA and LTE chips, as well as its key patent holdings for such technologies, let the company abuse its position and refuse to license necessary patents.

Qualcomm Inc faces an antitrust fine in Taiwan, the latest in a years-long streak of regulatory setbacks to its business model that comes as it also fights United States regulators and iPhone maker Apple Inc in court over numerous same legal issues. The fine has "no rational relationship" to Qualcomm's actual revenues in Taiwan, the company said. It plans to call for a stay on "any required behavioural measures". The commission said Qualcomm's move undermined innovations in the industry.

Regulators allege during this time the company sold US$30 billion worth of chips to local Taiwanese companies and received NT$400 billion in licensing fees.

According to the FTC, Qualcomm owned a good number of critical standard patents in Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) segments, serving as the dominant provider of CDMA, WCDMA and LTE baseband chips.

The commission said Qualcomm will be able to choose to pay the fine in 60 installments over the next five years. In late December 2016, the regulator announced a $854 million fine against Qualcomm, the largest ever in the country/ In March 2017, South Korea also discovered that Qualcomm stopped Samsung from selling their chips to other handset makers.