|From: benhorseman||6/16/2019 6:45:19 PM|
|Good article to be revisited:|
District Court Decision in FTC v. Qualcomm Spawns Controversy: Four Issues to Watch on AppealJun.03.2019
The recent ruling by a California federal court in the Federal Trade Commission’s monopolization case against Qualcomm sparked immediate and strong reactions from varied quarters. In a lengthy opinion, the court held that Qualcomm violated federal antitrust law. It ordered a broad injunction that could alter Qualcomm’s business model just as the global cellular system transitions to 5G. Qualcomm has appealed to the Ninth Circuit.
The case has been controversial from the outset. The FTC first voted to file the complaint by a 2-1 vote under Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in January 2017. Then Commissioner, and later Acting Chairman, Maureen Ohlhausen, went against her usual practice and issued a public dissent in a case heading to court. In another unusual move, shortly before the district court ruled, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice filed an unsolicited statement of interest to urge the court, if it were to find liability, to require additional briefing and a hearing on remedies before issuing an order. 1
When the court finally issued its order, it was not surprising to see Bruce Hoffman, the FTC Bureau of Competition Director supervising the case, hail the decision as “an important win for competition in a key segment of the economy.” 2 But it was unusual to see sitting FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson follow with an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal condemning the decision as a “dangerous antitrust overreach” that will “create new legal obligations, undermine intellectual-property rights, and expand the application of our antitrust laws beyond U.S. borders,” while her colleagues Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter issued statements praising the decision as “a thorough accounting,” “meticulous,” and a huge victory “for every American who believes in competitive markets.” 3 When it comes to this case, the Commission appears to remain starkly split.
Beyond the controversy and potential implications for Qualcomm and perhaps one key piece of the global cellular ecosystem, the case raises important antitrust questions for firms that own or use standard-essential patented technologies, as well as firms in any sector that use conditional rebates or incentive pricing as part of their competitive strategy. The court’s roving 233-page decision is dense with factual findings and credibility determinations, but spare by comparison in its legal and economic analysis of the FTC’s complex and interrelated theories of harm—theories that could ripple well beyond this case. We expect that the most important issues will narrow as the case now moves to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the district court’s findings and legal analysis will be scrutinized.
BackgroundIn January 2017, the FTC filed an antitrust complaint against Qualcomm in the Northern District of California. The complaint alleged that Qualcomm had unlawfully monopolized two markets for modem chips (also called baseband chips or processors)—semiconductors that, together with other components, allow devices like smartphones and tablets to communicate over cellular networks. The affected markets were alleged to be based on the wireless technology they supported: CDMA (3G) and premium-quality LTE (4G) modem chips. The FTC claimed that Qualcomm maintained its dominant market position by (1) requiring modem chip customers to license its patents separately before it would sell them chips (what the FTC called the “no license – no chips” policy), (2) declining to license its standard-essential patents to competing modem chip suppliers, and (3) utilizing de facto exclusive dealing arrangements with Apple. The FTC claimed that Qualcomm’s conduct was anticompetitive and violated Section 5 of the FTC Act.
There were two important preliminary rulings. First, the court denied Qualcomm’s motion to dismiss, finding that the FTC had alleged valid antitrust claims under each of its three theories. Then on November 6, 2018, the court granted the FTC’s motion for partial summary judgment, holding that, as a matter of contract law, Qualcomm had to provide licenses on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms to all applicants (including its modem chip rivals) for any patents declared under the patent policies of two specific U.S. standards development organizations (SDOs)—the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Alliance of Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS). The FTC did not ask the court to rule on Qualcomm’s contractual obligations to other SDOs, and the court’s order was therefore limited to Qualcomm’s obligations under the TIA and ATIS policies.
The District Court DecisionThe court held a ten-day bench trial in January 2019 and issued its decision on May 21, ruling in favor of the FTC. 4 The court began its analysis by defining separate relevant markets for CDMA and “premium” LTE modem chips (chips that provide the functionality to support high-end smartphones that operate on LTE networks). That issue was critical to the FTC’s case because Qualcomm’s market share led the court to conclude it had monopoly power in both markets.
Turning to the FTC’s three main theories of harm, the court first found that Qualcomm required that its CDMA and premium LTE modem chip OEM customers separately license Qualcomm’s patented technology, rather than exhausting those rights through the sale of the chips themselves. According to the court, “Qualcomm concedes [its policy] is unique within Qualcomm and unique in the industry.” 5 Relying primarily on documentary evidence, the court found that Qualcomm had used the threat of a chip supply disruption to advance its patent licensing negotiations. Using what the court characterized as a “carrot and stick” strategy, it found that Qualcomm had engaged in “anticompetitive conduct against OEMs” by using its market power in CDMA and LTE modem chips to secure higher royalty rates, but also sometimes providing conditional rebates on chip sales that created near-exclusive supply arrangements. 6
The court then evaluated the FTC’s claim that Qualcomm was required (pursuant to its assurances to TIA and ATIS, as well as under the antitrust laws) to license its modem chip rivals and that its failure to do so harmed competition. The court found that Qualcomm had not been willing to provide an exhaustive license to its rivals to manufacture and sell chips, though it typically offered an accommodation that was less likely to exhaust its rights to license OEMs directly, such as a mutual non-assertion agreement, covenant not to sue, or a limited license that would allow the rival to supply chips to Qualcomm-licensed OEMs. However, consistent with its earlier ruling on the FTC’s motion for partial summary judgment, the court found these more limited offers insufficient under Qualcomm’s contractual obligations to TIA and ATIS. The court also found that Qualcomm had a separate antitrust duty to deal with its rivals under the Supreme Court’s decision in Aspen Skiing Co. v. Aspen Highlands Skiing Corp. 7 The court found that by breaching these duties, Qualcomm imposed unjustified costs on its rivals and harmed competition.
With regard to the FTC’s third theory of harm—de facto exclusive dealing arrangements with Apple—the court focused on a 2011 Transition Agreement and a 2013 First Amendment to Transition Agreement. In 2011, as Apple was planning to launch a premium LTE handset, Apple and Qualcomm entered into an agreement that provided Apple with substantial new incentive payments to encourage its transition to Qualcomm chips. The payments were conditioned on Apple meeting volume targets and subject to termination, or in some cases repayment, if Apple sold products using non-Qualcomm modem chips. The parties expanded their relationship again in 2013, amending the 2011 Transition Agreement to provide for additional conditional incentive payments for Qualcomm chips used in iPhones and iPads.
The court found that the 2011 and 2013 agreements were de facto exclusive dealing arrangements because the agreements “coerced” Apple into purchasing a substantial portion of its supply from Qualcomm. 8 The court ruled that the agreements harmed competition by foreclosing a substantial share of the market to rivals and depriving rivals of other benefits that would allow them to gain a foothold in the market. These additional benefits included revenue to fund R&D, exposure to Apple’s engineering expertise, reputational benefits that would boost opportunities with other OEMS, and an enhanced standing within SDOs. It is worth noting, however, that the court also found that while Apple explored potential supply arrangements with multiple alternative modem chip suppliers in 2011 and 2012, “only Intel proved to be a viable Qualcomm alternative.” 9 The court found that just prior to execution of the 2013 agreement, Apple decided to “test run” an Intel modem chip in a new iPad model, but postponed those plans after signing the new agreement with Qualcomm. 10 Apple began sourcing chips from Intel in 2016, using Intel modem chips exclusively in its 2018 handsets. 11
The District Court InjunctionHaving found that Qualcomm violated the FTC Act, the court ruled that Qualcomm’s anticompetitive conduct is ongoing and that an injunction is warranted. Moreover, the court looked beyond past competitive effects in the CDMA and LTE markets at issue in the case and concluded that Qualcomm “is likely to replicate its market dominance during the transition to 5G, the next generation of modem chips.” 12 The court issued a broad injunction, which could require substantial changes to Qualcomm’s business model and require ongoing government oversight of the company. The key aspects of the injunction would:
Prohibit Qualcomm from conditioning the supply of modem chips or technical support on a customer’s patent-license status.Require Qualcomm to negotiate licenses (and renegotiate existing licenses) without any risk of disruption to a customer’s modem chip supply.
Require Qualcomm to make exhaustive licenses to its standard-essential patents available to modem chip suppliers on FRAND terms.Prohibit Qualcomm from interfering with any customer's ability to communicate with a government agency about a potential law enforcement or regulatory matter.Prohibit Qualcomm from entering express or de facto exclusive dealing arrangements for the supply of modem chips.
Require Qualcomm to adhere to FTC compliance and monitoring procedures. However, although the court criticized Qualcomm’s licensing terms, including using the handset device as the royalty base, the injunction does not mandate any particular licensing terms nor require that concluded licenses be based on the smallest saleable patent-practicing unit.
Qualcomm has appealed to the Ninth Circuit and has filed a motion with the district court to stay the order pending appeal. Qualcomm’s request for expedited consideration of a stay was denied by the district court without comment.
Four Issues to Watch on AppealBoth the legal and political interest in this case will likely grow as the case moves through appeal. On the substantive antitrust questions that will be before the Ninth Circuit, the following four issues will be particularly important to watch.
1. “No License – No Chips”: Excessive Pricing or Anticompetitive Exclusion?
As discussed above, the core of the FTC’s case revolves around Qualcomm’s practice of selling modem chips non-exhaustively and requiring that OEMs license the patent rights separately. The court devoted the largest number of pages to describing evidence it found persuasive in showing that Qualcomm had used its market power in chips to pressure OEMs to sign licenses. But the court’s analysis of how that behavior was more than the lawful exercise of monopoly power is elusive. While “excessive pricing” can be a factor in an antitrust claim in some jurisdictions, including the European Union, illegal monopolization under U.S. antitrust law requires anti-competitive exclusion of rivals, not the mere exercise of market power obtained lawfully, by, for example, developing and marketing a superior product.
This critical distinction led the D.C. Circuit to rule against the FTC in its last monopolization case involving standard-essential patent licensing. 13 Yet the source of the exclusionary effect here is murky. The court cites to just one instance where a Qualcomm license required a higher royalty on units incorporating a rival chip—a term that was eliminated when the license was renewed three years later. 14 In all other cases, it appears that OEMs paid the same royalty rate regardless of the source of the chip in the licensed device, putting a question mark over the FTC’s claim, which the court appears to have accepted, that Qualcomm’s policy created a cost disadvantage for rivals.
2. Antitrust Duty to License IP to Competitors?
The court concluded that Qualcomm had an antitrust duty to license its modem chip rivals under the Supreme Court’s decision in Aspen Skiing, relying heavily on the fact that Qualcomm had previously licensed its rivals, but later determined that it was more profitable to license solely at the OEM level. It is unclear from the evidence cited in the opinion what role changes in the U.S. law on patent exhaustion may have had on Qualcomm’s licensing practices over time. But beyond that key factual question, there are purely legal reasons to question the court’s embrace of Aspen Skiing to impose a duty to license intellectual property given that the case did not involve the licensing of intellectual property. Moreover, the Federal Circuit has held that the antitrust laws do not impose any duty to share intellectual property and the relevant Ninth Circuit precedent has been widely criticized. 15
3. Implications for SDO FRAND Policies?
The court also opined on the obligations of standard-essential patent owners who have provided voluntary licensing assurances to SDOs. The Federal Circuit has held that licensing obligations must be evaluated by reference to the specific SDO policy at issue. 16 Consistent with that analysis, the FTC moved for summary judgment on Qualcomm’s contractual obligations under the patent policies of two specific SDOs—TIA and ATIS. The court evaluated the FTC’s motion under principles of California contract law and ruled that, under those two policies, Qualcomm was required to provide a license on FRAND terms to all applicants, including its modem chip rivals. However, in the current order, though not necessary to support the decision, the court painted with a broader brush, suggesting that its earlier ruling applies to a licensing assurance to any SDO policy that includes the phrase “fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory.” The court made that shift in its analysis based solely on dicta in two Ninth Circuit decisions in Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, a case that involved a FRAND royalty rate dispute between a standard-essential patent owner and an OEM that did not raise the question of component-level licensing—the subject of the court’s order on the TIA and ATIS policies. 17 The court also claimed that Qualcomm’s practice of using the value of the handset (rather than the chip) as the royalty base is inconsistent with Federal Circuit law, but did so without citing to the Federal Circuit’s decision in CSIRO v. Cisco, 18 which held that in calculating reasonable royalties, principles of apportionment do not mandate a particular royalty base. However, the fact that the injunction does not mandate either royalty rates or a particular royalty base suggests that the court’s statements are largely dicta. Nevertheless, essential patent owners and technology users should stay alert to these issues as the case proceeds through appeal.
4. De Facto Exclusive Dealing or Vigorous Price Competition for Design Wins?
Finally, while many commentators have focused on the theories relating to standard-essential patents and the antitrust duty to deal with competitors, the fate of the case on appeal could rest on the strength of the court’s evaluation of the exclusionary impact of Qualcomm’s conditional pricing and rebate policies. The law relevant to conditional pricing and de facto exclusive dealing is complex and varies to some extent across circuits, and the court did not appear to engage with the extensive cases and commentary differentiating pro- from anti-competitive uses of such policies. While the court focuses on the factual details of Qualcomm’s policy, it largely ignores the economic expert testimony regarding competitive effects. It instead relies on documentary evidence, which in the court’s view shows anticompetitive intent, as the nearly sole basis for inferring anticompetitive effects. All companies that employ conditional pricing and loyalty rebates should stay tuned to how the appellate court handles these issues.
For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.
Lisa Kimmel, Ph.D.
Senior Counsel – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2749
John S. Gibson
Partner – Orange County
Phone: +1 949.798.1330
Mark A. Klapow
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2975
Wm. Randolph Smith
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2700
Jeane A. Thomas, CIPP/E
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2877
Associate – Orange County
Phone: +1 949.798.1363
Kate M. Watkins
Associate – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2744
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (2)|
|To: benhorseman who wrote (158571)||6/16/2019 9:45:25 PM|
|From: Doug M.|
|Thanks - this one is good - the others are as well:|
<<2. Antitrust Duty to License IP to Competitors?
The court concluded that Qualcomm had an antitrust duty to license its modem chip rivals under the Supreme Court’s decision in Aspen Skiing, relying heavily on the fact that Qualcomm had previously licensed its rivals, but later determined that it was more profitable to license solely at the OEM level. It is unclear from the evidence cited in the opinion what role changes in the U.S. law on patent exhaustion may have had on Qualcomm’s licensing practices over time. But beyond that key factual question, there are purely legal reasons to question the court’s embrace of Aspen Skiing to impose a duty to license intellectual property given that the case did not involve the licensing of intellectual property. Moreover, the Federal Circuit has held that the antitrust laws do not impose any duty to share intellectual property and the relevant Ninth Circuit precedent has been widely criticized. 15>>
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|To: benhorseman who wrote (158571)||6/17/2019 12:42:26 AM|
|From: THE WATSONYOUTH|
|while her colleagues Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter issued statements praising the decision as “a thorough accounting,” “meticulous,” and a huge victory “for every American who believes in competitive markets.” 3 When it comes to this case, the Commission appears to remain starkly split. |
Rohit Chopra....... He was previously Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury as agency's first Student Loan Ombudsman, established by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  On October 19, 2017, the White House announced its intent to nominate Chopra to fill the open Democratic seat on the Federal Trade Commission.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.............Liz Warrens's baby
Rebecca Slaughter........Rebecca Kelly Slaughter was sworn in as a Federal Trade Commissioner on May 2, 2018. Prior to joining the Commission, she served as Chief Counsel to Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic Leader. A native New Yorker, she advised Leader Schumer on legal, competition, telecom, privacy ...
Chief Counsel to Senator Charles Schumer..........now there's a confirmed leftist if I ever saw one
as I've said many times.........PEOPLE = POLICY............an axiom which seems to escape many on this board
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|From: benhorseman||6/17/2019 6:17:13 AM|
Even After Apple Settlement, Risks Abound for Qualcomm Stock Maybe the biggest issue here is that QCOM stock still is largely a smartphone play
By Vince Martin, InvestorPlace Contributor Jun 17, 2019, 5:16 am EDTI'm
The Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) roller coaster continues. Qualcomm stock has mostly traded sideways for much of this decade — but with quite a bit of volatility. Even by those standards, however, the last two months for QCOM stock have been something to see.
Source: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr
On April 15, Qualcomm stock closed below $58. Investors were worried about the company’s exposure to its slowing semiconductor segment, regulatory inquiries, and a high-stakes legal battle with Apple(NASDAQ: AAPL). The next day, Qualcomm announced a favorable settlement, surprising investors. That drove QCOM stock up 23% and beyond. It would touch $90 in early May — a cool 55% gain.
Since then, however, QCOM has fallen by nearly 30%. Trade war concerns have hit the stock and the semiconductor space more broadly. A negative FTC ruling added pressure last month, and again last week.
The sell-off might seem overdone. As I wrote recently, Wall Street seems to think so, with a consensus price target of $96. And I see the case. But any investor looking to time the bottom here — with QCOM stock in the $68 range — needs to realize that all for the noise surrounding the Apple relationship, there are many other risks lurking. Some already are playing out — and some may be yet to come.
Chip Sector ProblemsOne clear risk is that Qualcomm stock is going to be exposed to general sentiment toward semiconductor stocks. That sentiment has turned negative of late — one reason why QCOM stock has tumbled — and seems unlikely to get much better soon.
Indeed, cautious guidance from Broadcom (NASDAQ: AVGO) after Q2 earnings on Thursday seems likely to only add to the pessimism. AVGO stock fell more than 7% in after-hours trading and QCOM stock dropped 1.8%. Broadcom’s broad reach gives its management credibility in judging the outlook for much of the semiconductor industry. Its guidance undercuts the predictions of a second-half rebound made by Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and other chip leaders.
That might seem a short-term problem. But it also means QCOM, in the context of the sector, isn’t quite as cheap as it used to be. A 13x forward P/E multiple sounds inexpensive — but INTC is at 10.3x. Even NVDA is at 21x, with better end markets for growth in datacenter and gaming. QCOM not that long ago was one of the cheapest chip stocks out there and that’s simply not the case anymore.
Is Apple Done?As my InvestorPlace colleague Dana Blankenhorn detailed last month, at least part of Apple’s willingness to sell came from Intel’s inability to deliver a baseband modem of its own. With nowhere else to go, Apple was forced to pony up.
But how long will Apple be willing to sit quietly? Already, rumors are swirling that Apple is going to buy Intel’s modem business, presumably as a first step toward bringing development in-house. Whether Apple makes that move or not, it’s not going to sit idly by forever under Qualcomm’s terms.
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|From: benhorseman||6/17/2019 6:39:10 AM|
What US trade ban? Huawei has 56,492 patents and isn’t afraid to use them now
By: Bloomberg |
Published: June 17, 2019 11:22:05 AM
Qualcomm and Huawei are seen as two of the biggest players developing 5G that could bring not only faster speeds
Huawei is in protracted licensing talks with phone-services provider Verizon Communications Inc. and is in a dispute with chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. over the value of patents. Huawei also lodged claims against Harris Corp. after the defense contractor sued it last year alleging infringement of patents for networking and cloud security.
“Patents are, at their basic level, weapons of economic warfare,” said Brad Hulbert, a patent lawyer with McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff in Chicago. “They’re being hurt by the sanctions that the Trump Administration imposed and saying ‘You have hurt us and our ability to sell, and we can hurt back.’ It’s saber-rattling.”
Broader national security concerns also hang over this technology battle. In some circles Huawei’s outsized role as a supplier to next generation, or 5G networks makes it a potential threat either as an espionage agent or network disruption tool. Huawei has not only become a flashpoint in the middle of a 5G arms race, it’s also one of several companies targeted in President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade dispute with China.
Trump signed an order in May that’s expected to restrict Huawei from selling equipment in the U.S. Shortly after, the Department of Commerce said it had put Huawei on a blacklist that could forbid it from doing business with American companies.
For its part, the Asian nation sees Huawei as a potent symbol of its evolution from the world’s factory to a technology powerhouse, while the U.S. claims the tech company steals inventions from American firms.
“Huawei has invested a lot of money and they want to be recognised,” said Jim McGregor, a Mesa, Arizona-based technology analyst with Tirias Research. “Huawei is just playing out standard business practices for the wireless industry.”
Patent disputes are common in the tech industry, and the coming revolution predicted by advances in “5G” wireless technology promises to bring even more. Traditional players like Ericsson AB and Nokia Oyj are ramping up efforts to get more money from their patents. Qualcomm is appealing a ruling in a lawsuit by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that threatens the licensing program that accounts for the bulk of its profits. Huawei and Samsung Electronics Co. ended a two-year royalty fight in February.
Qualcomm and Huawei are seen as two of the biggest players developing 5G that could bring not only faster speeds but bring new capabilities including remote surgery via robots and self-driving cars that talk to each other. The global ban on Huawei equipment promoted by Trump has roiled telecom companies worldwide. It’s a reminder, McGregor said, that 5G relies on both the U.S. and China.
“Huawei, over the past couple of years, has really ramped up its efforts in not only patents but in the standard bodies, particularly in wireless technology,” McGregor said. “They can say ‘whether you’re using our equipment or Ericsson’s equipment, you’re using our inventions. You still have to take a license.’”
The Chinese government and companies have been investing billions in high-tech research, and have the patents to show for it. Last year alone, Huawei received 1,680 U.S. patents, making it the 16th biggest recipient, figures by Fairview Research’s IFI Patent Claims Services show. Huawei’s total portfolio of active patents and published applications is 102,911, according to Anaqua, an intellectual property-management software firm.
Royalty demands against cell-phone carrier Verizon by Huawei, reported Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal, could be become part of the political battle, said Peter Toren, a Washington-based patent lawyer who consults with other firms and companies on licensing and litigation.
“Given Huawei’s position and the pressure they are feeling, they have nothing to lose at this point than to go after American companies in the patent arena,” Toren said. “They get poked in one area and they’re going to stick back in another to show there are consequences for this continued pressure.
“I don’t see how the government can stop them,” he said. “They have ownership in the patents.”
Verizon, while declining to comment on specific talks, sees the negotiations as more than just a typical patent-licensing discussion.
“These issues are larger than just Verizon,” the company said in a statement. “Given the broader geopolitical context, any issue involving Huawei has implications for our entire industry and also raise national and international concerns.”
Officials with Huawei had no immediate comment.
McGregor said it makes sense for Huawei to demand royalties from Verizon because it’s the largest cell-phone carrier in the U.S. Verizon claims it’s the first to offer speedy new 5G services for mobile phones, though it’s only available in a limited area.
“If they don’t go to them within a reasonable amount of time and at least try to enforce those patents, those patents become unenforceable,” McGregor said. “You have to pick a starting point. It’s better to pick one of the major players and it makes sense to pick one of those who’s rolling out that technology.”
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|From: benhorseman||6/17/2019 6:59:56 AM|
US Chip makers seek easing of Huawei ban: report
MarketWatchJune 17, 2019
Major U.S. chip makers, including Intel Corp. , Qualcomm Inc. and Xilinx Inc. , have quietly lobbied the Trump administration to ease its ban on sales to Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co., Reuters reported Sunday. One source told Reuters that the aim was not to help Huawei, but to prevent harm to U.S. companies. Reuters said Huawei spent about $11 billion buying components from U.S. companies in 2018. The Trump administration announced the ban in May, after trade negotiations between the U.S. and China stalled. Earlier this month, the acting White House budget chief sought to delay implementation of the ban, the Wall Street Journal reported, arguing that the burden would fall on U.S. companies that did business with Huawei.
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|From: benhorseman||6/17/2019 7:11:43 AM|
LG: We do not expect supply chain disruption if Qualcomm agreement isn’t met
Update: June 13, 2019 at 11:28 a.m. ET: An LG spokesperson has reached out to Android Authority to clarify the situation. According to LG, the company does not expect there to be a disruption in the supply of 5G chips from Qualcomm. In fact, whether or not there is an agreement in place by June 30 “has no bearing on the supply agreement.”
Original article: June 12, 2019 at 4:36 a.m. ET: Sales of LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone are reportedly in doubt after negotiations to renew a chip licensing deal with Qualcomm fell through.
According to Reuters, the South Korean firm has completed a court filing in the U.S. opposing Qualcomm’s bid to set aside a landmark antitrust ruling against the chip designer.
“If Qualcomm does not participate in negotiations with LGE in accordance with the court’s order, LGE will have no option but to conclude license and chipset supply agreements once again on Qualcomm’s terms,” read an excerpt of the filing, according to the newswire.
Last month’s antitrust ruling found that Qualcomm had charged “onerous” fees to companies wanting to use its patents. Judge Lucy Koh also ruled that the U.S. firm needs to sign new patent licensing deals without the offending terms.
LG is calling on Qualcomm to abide by this ruling, while the Qualcomm seemingly thinks that it’s still the status quo for now until it’s exhausted its options to appeal the verdict.
It’s unclear when this impasse will come to an end, but LG is certainly in a bad position. If the court battle isn’t resolved soon, then the South Korean manufacturer will be forced to delay the LG V50 ThinQ and potentially other 5G-related devices too. It isn’t clear if the deal relates to 5G technology only or 4G devices as well, but an analyst told Reuters that LG’s mobile business could suffer “catastrophic” damage if a deal isn’t reached. This suggests that LG’s 4G devices, which forms the bulk of its smartphone shipments, are also affected by the legal battle.
This battle could also be a sign of things to come if Qualcomm’s deals with other manufacturers are up for renewal soon. It’s one thing for LG duke it out with Qualcomm, but it’s another matter entirely if other players decide to challenge the chipmaker in accordance with the antitrust ruling.
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|From: Bill Wolf||6/17/2019 7:35:07 AM|
|Huawei has a lot of ammunition for a patent fight |
|The Chinese company has started a battle with Verizon over patents. Susan Decker of Bloomberg points out that it has many more arrows in that quiver to fight back against U.S. efforts to squash its business. |
|Huawei has 56,492 active patents worldwide, according to the research firm AcclaimIP. They cover telecom, networking and other high-tech areas. Last year alone, Huawei received 1,680 U.S. patents. |
|And the company is showing more willingness to use them as weapons. It has already pressed Verizon to pay licensing fees for equipment that the Chinese company says infringes on 238 of its patents. (Though Verizon doesn’t use Huawei equipment itself, some of its vendors do.) |
|Huawei has a lot of incentive to fight back. Restrictions imposed by the Trump administration are expected to take a significant toll on its business: It’s reportedly preparing for a drop in global smartphone sales of as much as 60 million units, according to Bloomberg. |
|More: Huawei could build a decent phone without U.S. components — but for now, it can’t create a great one.|
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