Bonum Certa Men Certa

Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

Qualcomm doesn't do much but collect patent royalties

Qualcomm building
Photo credit: Coolcaesar



Summary: Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected

THE many patents granted primarily by the USPTO to Qualcomm continue to represent a threat to the productive industry, as we noted earlier this year [1, 2, 3, 4].



"Remember that it was a Samsung foe, Apple, which played a big role in this battle and has in fact stopped paying Qualcomm (which sent the stock nosediving)."Belatedly, companies are complaining and regulators take a closer look at Qualcomm's behaviour. Even a Microsoft AstroTurfing/front group, Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), is going to intervene, based on Florian Müller, who wrote a couple of new posts late on a Friday [1, 2], having just scrutinised new documents.

"Intel's brief in FTC v. Qualcomm is pretty good," he wrote. "It was just too late for me to still comment on it yesterday. Will do so next week."

He quotes from the brief: "For years Qualcomm has maintained an interlocking web of abusive patent & commercial practices that subverts competition on merits" (hypocritical for Intel to state that).

Here is what Samsung had to say. "Samsung just filed an amicus brief supporting the FTC against Qualcomm," Müller noted, "explaining how it's being harmed by QCOM's conduct in two biz areas."

From his post about it:

In today's opposition to a Qualcomm motion to dismiss the FTC's antitrust complaint, the FTC says "[o]ther chipmakers may not wish to sue Qualcomm for a number of reasons, including fear of countersuit for infringement, escalation, litigation fees, disrupted relationships with OEMs [...]." While all of that can affect a chipmaker's calculus, the situation is far worse for device makers: they have to fear massive disruption should Qualcomm cease to supply its chipsets to them. Also, Qualcomm's rebate deals (that effectively result in some patent royalties being paid back) appear to be tied to total abstention from any kind of antitrust action against Qualcomm. All in all, it's like a strangehold on an entire industry.


Remember that it was a Samsung foe, Apple, which played a big role in this battle and has in fact stopped paying Qualcomm (which sent the stock nosediving). Here is some of the latest:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just responded to Qualcomm's motion to dismiss its antitrust complaint in the Northern District of California....


We have studied some of the above and it certainly seems like most of the industry, not just the FTC, is eager to put an end to Qualcomm's exploitation of software patents to make money out of nothing but "licensing".

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