Qualcomm fined a record $773M in Taiwan over antitrust claims

Qualcomm
San Diego-based Qualcomm is engaged in multiple legal battles around the world.

Qualcomm was fined a record $773 million by Taiwanese regulators for violating antitrust laws for at least the last seven years.

Bloomberg reported Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission announced the fine early this morning, claiming the San Diego-based chip vendor maintains a monopoly on some standardized mobile technologies and hasn’t provided products to potential customers that don’t adhere to its terms, violating the country’s laws.

“Qualcomm holds big number of standard essential patents in CDMA, WCDMA and LTE segments and is the dominant provider of CDMA, WCDMA and LTE baseband chips,” the agency said in an announcement, Bloomberg reported. “It abused its advantage in mobile communication standards, refused to license necessary patents.”

The FTC also ordered Qualcomm to drop existing agreements that force competitors to provide sensitive information such as pricing, customer names, shipments and model names, Bloomberg reported. Qualcomm didn’t respond to a request for comment from FierceWireless and did not immediately issue a statement on the matter.

The massive chip vendor continues to fight multiple patent-licensing and antitrust cases around the world. In January it vowed to appeal a record fine of $865 million imposed by the Korea Fair Trade Commission for what the government said amounted to unfair business practices, and in April Nvidia sued Qualcomm in London, alleging it had unfairly forced Nvidia to pull the plug on the Icera business it bought in 2011.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is in a massive battle with Apple that began in January over patent royalties. The iPhone vendor earlier this year filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm, contending the chipmaker insists on onerous royalties for its technologies and demands payments for technologies it didn’t develop, such as Apple’s Touch ID. Apple claimed in that suit that it “has been overcharged billions of dollars on Qualcomm’s illegal scheme,” although the suit seeks damages of just less than $1 billion.

Qualcomm filed a countersuit in April, claiming among other things that the iPhone vendor “breached” and “mischaracterized” agreements with the chipmaker and interfered in deals with Qualcomm licensees.

And earlier this year, the FTC filed suit against Qualcomm, accusing it of using anticompetitive tactics to “maintain its monopoly” as the dominant vendor of semiconductors for phones and other mobile gadgets. The agency said Qualcomm imposed “onerous and anticompetitive supply and licensing terms” on hardware manufacturers, violating the FTC Act on several fronts.