Intel and Samsung have each joined the FTC’s lawsuit in opposition to Qualcomm, accusing the smartphone SoC and wi-fi modem producer of partaking in practices that violate antitrust legislation. Truthful disclosure requires me to notice that Intel’s transient is unimaginable to learn with out chortling. Anybody who remembers AMD’s antitrust lawsuits in opposition to Intel might have an analogous drawback, given Intel’s smug dismissal of AMD’s complaints on the time, in contrast with the outraged tone it takes in its personal courtroom submitting in opposition to Qualcomm.
In keeping with Intel, Qualcomm has:
[M]aintained an interlocking net of abusive patent and industrial practices that subverts competitors on the deserves. These practices have coerced mobile-phone producers (also referred to as “authentic gear producers” or “OEMs”) into buying the chipsets they want from Qualcomm and Qualcomm alone. The FTC’s detailed grievance paperwork the Qualcomm practices which have created that coercive enterprise local weather and stymied competitors. Qualcomm’s conduct has inflicted and continues to inflict exactly the harms that the antitrust legal guidelines search to guard in opposition to: hurt to the aggressive course of, to shopper welfare, and to innovation and progress.
Particularly, Intel argues that Qualcomm refuses to promote chipsets until producers buy patent licenses and conform to pay Qualcomm income on each chipset bought, whether or not that chipset accommodates Qualcomm processors or not. It additionally argues that Qualcomm refuses to license Normal Important Patents (SEPs) to its opponents, that it has organized an unique (and under market value) take care of Apple to nook the market, and that Qualcomm has used a mixture of patent licensing and exclusivity offers to stop the smartphone market from functioning as a free and impartial market.
Now, don’t get me mistaken — Qualcomm could be discovered to have engaged in abusive conduct, and I’m not saying in any other case. However for Intel to complain about Qualcomm’s licensing and royalty constructions after its personal abuses is solely magical. Bear in mind, Intel paid $1.2 billion to AMD to settle its antitrust case earlier than it went to trial and was fined $1.45 billion by the EU. Its largest companion in crime, Dell, paid $100 million to settle SEC charges that the corporate misrepresented the impression Intel’s predatory rebate practices had on the OEM’s backside line. Again then, Intel rebates had been so important to Dell earnings, that they had been the one manner the corporate might meet its consensus EPS estimates each single quarter from 2002 by 2006. Within the first quarter of FY 2007, 76 p.c of Dell’s working revenue got here from Intel exclusivity funds — aka, Intel paying Dell to not use AMD merchandise.
It’s, due to this fact, hilarious that Intel would go to the FTC to declare its incapacity to compete with Qualcomm.
Samsung backs up Intel’s claims
That stated, Samsung, Intel, and the FTC are making a cohesive set of claims about Qualcomm’s enterprise practices which will effectively get up in courtroom. Each Samsung and Intel argue that Qualcomm refuses to license its patents to opponents, regardless of holding important patents which are functionally required to construct an LTE modem (we’ve coated FRAND and SEP patent licensing in earlier tales on this topic). This might put Qualcomm in violation of the Sherman Act alone, since SEP licensing points have been beforehand discovered to set off such clauses. Samsung’s submitting is extra narrowly tailor-made than Intel’s, and focuses extra particularly on whether or not Qualcomm is required to license its patents to opponents underneath the foundations that govern SEP and FRAND licensing within the first place. Unsurprisingly, Qualcomm is arguing that it has no authorized requirement to license its patents.
It’s tougher to make goal determinations about whether or not corporations have complied with patent license necessities, in contrast with whether or not one firm’s merchandise are available on retailer cabinets. It makes this case fairly completely different from the sooner Intel-AMD lawsuit we alluded to (schadenfreude however). We’ve got definitely observed earlier than that Qualcomm confronted sturdy competitors in 2G and 3G modems, however dominated the 4G / LTE house to an unprecedented diploma. That has modified considerably, now that Intel, Samsung, and a handful of different corporations have their very own radios in-market. However Qualcomm had the market all however locked up for fairly a while. Qualcomm has requested that the go well with be dismissed, however the FTC has but to rule on that proposal.