In Victory for Qualcomm, Appeals Court Throws Out Antitrust Ruling

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A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit threw out an antitrust verdict against Qualcomm, overturning a ruling that had threatened the chip maker’s business model. The panel reversed a 2019 ruling by District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who found that Qualcomm had abused its monopoly position in wireless chips and overcharged mobile phone makers for its patents. Judge Koh's decision could have forced Qualcomm to renegotiate its licensing contracts with phone makers and license its technology to rival chipmakers. The panel concluded that Qualcomm had no duty under antitrust law to license its competitors. It also ruled that Qualcomm’s policy of not supplying chips to any handset maker that had not licensed its patents did not work like an illegal surcharge on chips sold by competitors. The Federal Trade Commission had sued Qualcomm in 2017 over the issue. Disagreements about Qualcomm prompted a split between the FTC and other government agencies, including the Department of Justice, which contended that the District Court ruling could undermine Qualcomm’s position in technologies, like 5G, that are essential for national security.

In Victory for Qualcomm, Appeals Court Throws Out Antitrust Ruling U.S. Appeals Court Throws Out Antitrust Ruling Against Qualcomm (WSJ)