Qualcomm Fights Korean Antitrust Charges

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SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Telecom giant Qualcomm wants seven major tech firms to turn over evidence it claims they used to charge it with antitrust violations in South Korea.
     The Korean Fair Trade Commission issued an examiner’s report in November, saying Qualcomm’s licensing of standard essential wireless patents violate antitrust laws there.
     Qualcomm filed seven federal petitions Friday, seeking documents and testimony submitted to Korea’s antitrust regulator by Apple, Samsung, Intel, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, VIA Technologies and MediaTek.
     According to the petitions for discovery, evidence those firms provided to the Korean regulator partially formed the basis for claims that Qualcomm’s conduct harmed other cellular communications companies.
     “Qualcomm disputes this assertion and seeks documents sufficient to show whether Apple has in fact been harmed in the ways alleged in the [examiner’s report],” the company states.
     The petitions seek all documents provided to the Korean Fair Trade Commission regarding issues raised in the confidential examiner’s report along with documents that show whether those firms suffered harm as a result of Qualcomm’s licensing practices.
     The San-Diego based telecom giant also wants Apple and Samsung to turn over documents on positions Samsung has taken in its longstanding legal battle with Apple over wireless patents.
     Qualcomm claims Samsung has taken positions on issues in the Apple lawsuit that are “inconsistent” with those it presented to the Korean Fair Trade Commission.
     “Documents from the litigation will be fundamental to allowing the KFTC to assess the credibility of Samsung’s statements to the KFTC’s examiner,” the petition states.
     Qualcomm says it needs the information to submit a response to the charges against it in South Korea and to prepare for evidentiary hearings, which are expected to commence in early spring.
     Qualcomm also is fighting antitrust charges by another foreign regulator. In December, the European Commission accused it of paying a major customer to use its chipsets exclusively and selling baseband chipsets below cost to force a competitor out of business.
     Qualcomm is the world’s largest supplier of baseband chipsets, essential processing components in smartphones and other mobile devices. It reported revenue of $25.3 billion in its 2015 fiscal year, down $1.2 billion from 2014.
     Qualcomm is represented by David Kays with Morgan, Franich, Fredkin, Siamas & Kays of San Jose.