Qualcomm Is Fined $773 Million by Taiwan Over Patent Practices

Reuters

Reuters

The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission said on Wednesday it would fine Qualcomm T$23.4 billion (US$774.14 million) for anti-trust violations of its chip technology. This is one other major defeat for the chipmaker that's now embroiled in a complicated legal battle against Apple and other tech firms. While the regulatory and legal attacks differ in some details, a key theme is the allegation that Qualcomm uses its dominant position in the market for modem chips to charge unfair royalty rates for its patents.

Wednesday, Qualcomm issued a statement saying it disagrees with the TFTC's decision about their business practices being in violation of Taiwan's competition law and would appeal it. Qualcomm's bottom line and the stock could also take serious hits.

The regulator said Qualcomm abused its position by not providing products to clients who don't agree with its conditions.

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Besides the fine, the commission told Qualcomm to remove previously signed deals that force competitors to provide price, customer names, shipment, model name, and other sensitive information as well as other clauses in its agreements.

Taiwan is only the latest country to go after Qualcomm over its expensive and onerous licensing terms: China and South Korea have both fined the company in the past two years, and Apple is now engaged in a series of global lawsuits against Qualcomm over numerous same practices.

Qualcomm Inc. was fined about $773 million by the Taiwanese government, the latest setback as the chip maker defends its patent-licensing business against an worldwide wave of regulatory and legal challenges.

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