Qualcomm settles Taiwan antitrust case

13 Aug 2018

Qualcomm has reached a settlement agreement with Taiwanese antitrust regulator the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) reversing most of a TW$23.4 billion ($758 million) fine imposed on the company.

Under the mutual settlement agreement, Qualcomm and the FTC have agreed that the FTC will keep the roughly TW$2.73 billion that the company has already paid, while the remainder of the fine will be waived, Qualcomm said in a statement.

The FTC will drop its investigation into the company and Qualcomm will withdraw its lawsuit challenging the regulator's decision alleging violations of Taiwan's Fair Trade Act.

Qualcomm has also agreed to certain commitments in terms of negotiating good faith agreements over its cellular standards-essential patents, and to make investments in Taiwan to benefit the mobile and semiconductor ecosystems, SMEs and consumers.

These investment commitments, which include 5G collaborations and the develop of a Taiwanese center for operations and manufacturing engineering, are reportedly worth $700 million.

The FTC imposed the original fine on Qualcomm in 2017 after alleging that the company abused its monopoly over key mobile device standards and had violated local laws by refusing to supply products to clients disagreeing with its licensing conditions.

It was the latest in a string of setbacks to Qualcomm's licensing business, the source of the majority of the company's profit. South Korea's antitrust regulators fined Qualcomm 1.03 trillion won ($910.3 million) in 2016, while Chinese regulators imposed a national record high 6 billion yuan ($872 million fine) fine in 2015.

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