Qualcomm hit with huge fine for violating anti-monopoly laws

Qualcomm has violated the Chinese anti-monopoly law and must pay a fine for it.

It has been fined with 6.088 billion Chinese Yuan Renminbi (£640.79m) by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), after an investigation.

Qualcomm has also agreed not to contest China's legal decisions, and to implement a rectification plan that modifies certain of its business practices in China to satsify the requirements of the NDRC's order.

The commission has mandated that:

  • Qualcomm will offer licenses to its current 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents separately from licenses to its other patents and it will provide patent lists during the negotiation process. If Qualcomm seeks a cross license from a Chinese licensee as part of such offer, it will negotiate with the licensee in good faith and provide fair consideration for such rights.
  • For licenses of Qualcomm's 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents for branded devices sold for use in China, Qualcomm will charge royalties of 5 per cent for 3G devices (including multimode 3G/4G devices) and 3.5 per cent for 4G devices (including 3-mode LTE-TDD devices) that do not implement CDMA or WCDMA, in each case using a royalty base of 65 per cent of the net selling price of the device.
  • Qualcomm will give its existing licensees an opportunity to elect to take the new terms for sales of branded devices for use in China as of January 1, 2015.
  • Qualcomm will not condition the sale of baseband chips on the chip customer signing a license agreement with terms that the NDRC found to be unreasonable or on the chip customer not challenging unreasonable terms in its license agreement. However, this does not require Qualcomm to sell chips to any entity that is not a Qualcomm licensee, and does not apply to a chip customer that refuses to report its sales of licensed devices as required by its patent license agreement.

"We are pleased that the investigation has concluded and believe that our licensing business is now well positioned to fully participate in China's rapidly accelerating adoption of our 3G/4G technology," said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm.

"We appreciate the NDRC's acknowledgment of the value and importance of Qualcomm's technology and many contributions to China, and look forward to its future support of our business in China."

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf added: "Qualcomm has played an important role in the success of the mobile and semiconductor industries in China for many years, and we look forward to building upon this foundation as we grow our investments, engagement and business in China," said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm.

"We are pleased that the resolution has removed the uncertainty surrounding our business in China, and we will now focus our full attention and resources on supporting our customers and partners in China and pursuing the many opportunities ahead."