Press Release

Open Markets Supports FTC In Fight Against Qualcomm’s Monopoly

Washington, DC — In the biggest government antimonopoly case since Microsoft, Open Markets filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its suit against Qualcomm. Qualcomm has long monopolized the market for wireless modem chips, refusing to license its patents to rival chipmakers in violation of licensing pledges it had made to standard-setting bodies and selling chips only to manufacturers that agree to license and pay for the associated Qualcomm patents too.

Qualcomm dominates this market through these illegal practices and compels smartphone and tablet producers to pay exorbitantly high amounts for their chips. Open Markets supports the district court’s ruling stopping Qualcomm’s exclusionary practices and restoring competition in the market for wireless modem chips. We call the Ninth Circuit to affirm the district court’s ruling in its entirety.

“This is the most important government anti-monopoly case since the suit against Microsoft two decades ago,” Sandeep Vaheesan, Legal Director at Open Markets, said. “The district court, applying established Sherman Act precedent, correctly ruled that Qualcomm was violating antitrust law and issued an injunction to remedy this misconduct and prevent future recurrence. The unusual and specious pleas of the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Energy offer no basis to overturn the district court’s ruling. A failure to hold Qualcomm responsible for its running violation of antitrust law would be a dangerous signal to corporations everywhere and only further encourage their exclusionary and predatory business practices.”