Qualcomm faces fresh antitrust case in Japan

Dylan Bushell-Embling
28 Jul 2009

Japan's Fair Trade Commission has slapped Qualcomm with an antitrust order, just days after the company was hit with a record for anticompetitive behavior in Korea.

The FTC has claimed Qualcomm holds contracts which give it unfair advantages over local manufacturers - including some arrangements limiting Japanese companies from filing complaints even when they feel their patents have been breached, the Associated Presssaid.

Qualcomm confirmed it had received a draft antitrust order from the commission, but said it had yet to see a full translation of the document.

"However, it appears that the draft is directed at common, industry-standard licensing terms that are in fact pro-competitive and were the subject of intense negotiations with very substantial Japanese companies," the company said in a statement.

Qualcomm said it would exercise its right to issue a written response before the final decision is rendered.

The order comes a week after it was fined 260 billion won ($208 million) by the South Korean Fair Trade Commission.

The commission found that Qualcomm had abused its market dominance by charging higher royalties for manufacturers using competing chipsets, and has ordered it to cease that practice. Qualcomm has vowed to appeal the decision.

Meawhile, Qualcomm is still mulling a new R&D center in South Korea. Qualcomm Korea president Cha Young-koo, told the Korea Times the company already has an R&D center in China and will decide by year-end on whether to build a second Asian research site. Either Korea or India was the most likely location, the president said.

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