The U.S. Federal Trade Commission urged a U.S. appeals court to reconsider an Aug. 11 ruling that threw out antitrust claims against chipmaker
The three-judge panel erred when it
“The panel’s decision blesses the continued stifling of competition in multi-billion-dollar markets for cellular-communications chips on which much of the digital economy depends,” the agency said in the petition. The FTC is asking that the case be heard before all active judges on the court.
The antitrust case, which the FTC had
Rehearing requests are rarely granted, but the FTC’s decision to push the issue keeps a cloud over Qualcomm that investors thought was over.
Analysts had questioned whether the agency would file the petition, since some commission members were vocally opposed to the case. Qualcomm rival
The Justice Department, which splits antitrust duties with the FTC, is on Qualcomm’s
Qualcomm doesn’t include patent licenses in the chips it sells, but it will only sell those chips to manufacturers who have a license to the patents. The company said the royalty charged to manufacturers on its patents is the same no matter which company’s chips are used, what the FTC and critics call the “Qualcomm tax.”
That charge, up to $20 per phone, prevents rival chipmakers from offering their products at a lower price, while Qualcomm can provide incentives that lower the total price if Qualcomm chips are used, the FTC alleged.
The appeals court ruled that, even if the royalty charge is unreasonably high, the legal theory adopted by Koh “fails as a matter of law and logic” and showed no anticompetitive harm -- the payment is made by the manufacturers, not the rival chipmakers, the court said.
The case is FTC v. Qualcomm Inc.,
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