Qualcomm promptly denied all antitrust claims mentioned in the complaint filed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday. In a public statement published on Thursday, the San Diego-based tech giant said the FTC based its allegations on a "flawed legal theory" and a "significantly flawed" portrayal of circumstances surrounding Qualcomm's alleged violations of US competition laws. The company asserted that the FTC's complaint demonstrates how this government agency doesn't understand the mobile technology industry, adding how numerous actors who would benefit from Qualcomm being accused of antitrust violations have already earned billions by selling products based on mobile technologies Qualcomm developed.
The company's statement also mentions the FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen who opposed filing the complaint but was overruled by Edith Ramirez and Terrell McSweeny, currently the only remaining FTC Commissioners. Commissioner Ohlhausen opposed her colleagues and heavily criticized their complaint, adding how "it's telling" that they aren't even accusing Qualcomm of charging licensing fees that are above the reasonable royalty rate. Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's Executive Vice President and General Counsel also criticized the FTC's decision to rush filing the complaint against the company in the twilight of the current US administration that's set to be replaced on Friday. Rosenberg said that Qualcomm had invested billions into developing technologies that have improved hundreds of millions of lives in the US, adding that the company only engages in broad licensing practices that don't discriminate anyone in the industry and were actually designed to encourage competition. Furthermore, Qualcomm's executive pointed out how cellular standard organizations don't require licensing of individual components and said that rewriting industry policies isn't the FTC's jurisdiction.
Regardless of Qualcomm's response, the company's shares are currently declining as investors are worried that the US District Court for the Northern District of California will issue a court order to change Qualcomm's licensing practices. Potential financial ramifications of that decision wouldn't reflect well on the company's revenue which is why its perceived value on the stock market is currently falling. The FTC's complaint marks Qualcomm's second conflict with antitrust watchdogs in less than a month as the company was recently issued a historic anti-competitive fine in South Korea.