Qualcomm faces probe in Korea over license related business practices

Wireless chip major Qualcomm is facing a probe in Korea over its license related business practices.

Korea is home to smartphone makers LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics and telecom operators SK Telecom, Korea Telecom and LG U+.

Recently, the US-based Qualcomm settled a similar probe in China and settled the case with a $1 billion plus penalty.
Qualcomm today said it has recently received a letter involving the Korea Fair Trade Commission’s staff-generated Case Examiner’s Report (ER) alleging that Qualcomm violates the Korean competition law because the US-based chipset maker does not properly negotiate aspects of licenses.

The letter said Qualcomm, the makers of Snapdragon chipsets, follows practice of licensing its patents at the device level and requiring that its chip customers be licensed to intellectual property. The ER proposes remedies including modifications to certain business practices and monetary penalties. The Qualcomm statement does not talk about the possible penalty and name of the chip customers.

Qualcomm says the allegations and conclusions contained in the ER are not supported by the facts and are a serious misapplication of law.

“Our patent licensing practices, which we and other patent owners have maintained for almost two decades, and which have facilitated the growth of the mobile communications industry in Korea and elsewhere, are lawful and pro-competitive,” said Qualcomm.

“Device level licensing is the worldwide industry norm, and Korean companies have long enjoyed the benefits and protections of access to our patents, which cover essentially the entire device,” said Qualcomm on Wednesday.

Baburajan K
[email protected]