Qualcomm To Appeal Its $773 Million Antitrust Fine In Taiwan

October 12, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Qualcomm will appeal the $773 million fine it received from the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) on Wednesday, the San Diego, California-based semiconductor manufacturer said shortly after yet another competition watchdog concluded that the company employed monopolistic business practices. The firm is now in the process of assessing its options and will file to stay any sanctions set to follow as a result of the TFTC’s decision while it’s in the process of appealing the verdict that it strongly disagrees with, according to the tech giant’s statement on the matter.

The appeal process itself has yet to be initiated by Qualcomm as the firm requires an official decision from the TFTC before it’s able to legally challenge it, with its attorneys expecting the government agency to provide it with the ruling in the coming weeks, presumably by early November. The maker of Snapdragon-series chips didn’t go into many details regarding the contents of the ruling itself but based its disagreement on the fact that there is “no rational relationship” between the severity of the TFTC’s fine and the level of revenue Qualcomm records in the Far Eastern country, adding that the size of its Taiwanese operations also couldn’t be used as the basis for a historic fine issued by the agency. Due to that belief, the company is adamant to specifically appeal the method used by the TFTC to calculate the fine, as well as the amount of the fine itself.

The TFTC fined Qualcomm after concluding that the company’s patent licensing policies in Taiwan constituted anti-competitive and outright monopolistic behavior, claiming that the technology giant forced local original equipment manufacturers into paying unreasonably high fees for standard essential patents. Apart from the fine, the Taiwanese competition watchdog ordered Qualcomm to scrap a number of its previously signed patent licensing deals with local OEMs. The U.S. conglomerate is presently facing antitrust issues around the globe, being involved in a high-profile legal battle with Apple in its home country and trying to fight the South Korean Fair Trade Commission over an even higher fine than the one issued by Taipei. The current state of affairs also doesn’t bode well for the company’s ambitions to complete the acquisition of NXP Semiconductors as part of the largest takeover in the industry to date worth approximately $38 billion, with the European Commission being reluctant to approve the deal without major concessions on Qualcomm’s part that are yet to be agreed.