Tech Firms Call For EU Investigation of Qualcomm
Oct 28, 2005
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Mobile wireless technology companies Broadcom, Ericsson, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic Mobile Communications, and Texas Instruments have each filed complaints to the European Commission requesting that it investigate what they call Qualcomm's "anti-competitive conduct in the licensing of essential patents for 3G mobile technology."
The companies say Qualcomm is violating EU competition law and failing to meet the commitments Qualcomm made to international standard bodies around the world that it would license its technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The mobile technology companies say that without these commitments the WCDMA 3G standard would not have been adopted.
The mobile technology companies claim Qualcomm is infringing these rules by trying to exclude competing makers of chipsets for mobile phones from the market and preventing others from entering. To this end, the complaints say, Qualcomm committed abuses ranging from the refusal to license essential patents to potential chipset competitors on reasonable terms, to offering lower royalty rates to handset customers who buy chipsets exclusively from Qualcomm.
The complaints say Qualcomm is also infringing the rules by charging excessive royalties for its WCDMA essential patents; in particular, the complaints say, by imposing the same royalty rate on WCDMA 3G handsets as it does for CDMA2000 3G handsets, despite the fact that Qualcomm contributed less technology to the WCDMA 3G standard than it has to the CDMA2000 standard.
The mobile wireless technology companies who filed the complaints say they believe that Qualcomm's anti-competitive behavior has harmful effects for the mobile telecommunications business in Europe and elsewhere, with carriers and consumers facing higher prices and fewer choices.
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