Proof of Apple change dominated inadmissible in Qualcomm antitrust case

(Reuters) – A federal choose on Thursday dominated that proof supplied by chip provider Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) that main cellphone makers like Apple Inc (AAPL.O) have moved to competing suppliers like Intel Corp (INTC.O) can’t be used to struggle allegations Qualcomm acted to protect a monopoly on some cell phone chips.

FILE PHOTO: A constructing on the Qualcomm campus is seen in San Diego, California, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Federal Commerce Fee’s lawsuit within the U.S. District Courtroom for the Northern District of California alleges that Qualcomm’s patent licensing and chip sale practices had been anticompetitive and sought to protect a monopoly on so-called premium LTE modem chips, which assist cellphones connect with wi-fi knowledge community.

On the listening to in San Jose, California, an lawyer for the FTC mentioned there are “nonetheless discussions happening” with Qualcomm about settling the case, however a Qualcomm lawyer mentioned there was “no information” concerning the standing of the talks. The 2 sides disclosed they had been in talks in October.

The case, which started in 2017, is headed to trial in January, however the cutoff for the 2 sides to assemble proof resulted in March.

Since March, Qualcomm has disclosed that Apple fully stopped utilizing its modems in its latest iPhones and switched to chips from Intel Corp. Qualcomm has additionally broadened its use of a lower-cost licensing mannequin for expertise for the following era of cellular knowledge networks, with a number of cellphone makers already signing the offers.

Qualcomm argued in courtroom papers that the brand new market circumstances would doubtless present that it doesn’t have the monopoly on modem chips that the FTC alleges.

However Choose Lucy Koh rejected the request in a pre-trial determination, saying that the case was about Qualcomm’s enterprise conduct and never its market energy.

“Qualcomm doesn’t argue that any post-discovery proof exhibits a change in Qualcomm’s personal enterprise conduct. The entire proposed proof pertains to alleged shifts in Qualcomm’s market energy,” Koh wrote in her determination.

The choice is the second pre-trial blow Choose Koh has dealt to Qualcomm. Final month, she dominated that Qualcomm should grant patent licenses to its expertise to rival chipmakers in the event that they request it.

If the FTC wins its case towards Qualcomm, regulators might impose fines and drive the corporate to vary a few of its enterprise practices round patent licensing, which drive extra of the chip provider’s income than chip gross sales.

Regulators in South Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere have reached choices towards Qualcomm and imposed billions of {dollars} in fines.

Nonetheless, Qualcomm has appealed most of the choices and settled a few of them, for instance by agreeing with Taiwanese regulators to speculate $700 million in that nation’s expertise sector.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Enhancing by Sonya Hepinstall

Author: Maxwell C.

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