UK consumer group hits Qualcomm with lawsuit - Mobile World Live

UK consumer group hits Qualcomm with lawsuit

25 FEB 2021

UK consumer advocacy group Which? filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, accusing the chip company of abusing its dominant market position to overcharge for its products and seeking millions in restitution for smartphone users.

Among other things, the group argued Qualcomm’s practice of refusing to licence patents to competitors was “unlawful” and contributed to inflated smartphone prices.

Anabel Hoult, Which? chief executive, stated Qualcomm’s strategy was “anticompetitive” and had “so far taken around £480m from UK consumers’ pockets”. She added the lawsuit was intended to send “a clear warning” to companies which employ “manipulative practices”.

If successful, the group said the lawsuit could allow UK consumers who purchased a Samsung or Apple device on or after 1 October 2015 to reclaim between £5 and £30 each.

A Qualcomm representative told Mobile World Live there was “no basis” for the legal action, adding the claims made against it “were effectively put to rest” by a US court in 2020.

In August 2020, Qualcomm won a legal battle against the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its patent licensing practices, after an appeals court determined its actions did not violate competition law. Subsequent efforts by the FTC to overturn the ruling failed.

The company lost earlier spats with regulators in Korea and Taiwan over similar issues, and was fined twice by the European Commission for alleged abuses of its market position.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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