Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: EU launches anti-trust case against US chip-maker Qualcomm

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Berlin, Germany
    Posts
    560
    Device(s)
    HP Pre 3
    Carrier(s)
    O2 Deutschland
    Feedback Score
    0

    EU launches anti-trust case against US chip-maker Qualcomm

    EU launches anti-trust case against US chip-maker Qualcomm


    Brussels (dpa) - The European Commission has launched an official investigation into US-based microchip manufacturer Qualcomm following accusations of abuse of its market position, officials said.

    The move comes after the world's biggest manufacturers of mobile phones - including Nokia, Ericsson, Texas Instruments and Panasonic - alleged that the company was not giving them access to crucial parts of its intellectual property at a fair price, officials said.

    "The absence of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms for making this technology available could constitute an abuse of Qualcomm's dominant market position," a spokesman for the Commission - the European Union's executive - told journalists.

    The case involves the intellectual-property rights which Qualcomm holds over the CDMA and WCDMA global standards for mobile telephones. The latter is part of the European standard for third-generation (3G) mobile-phone handsets, the EC's spokesman said.

    And makers of 3G phones claim that the company is not giving them access to the technology embodied in those standards at a fair price.

    Qualcomm "have complete dominance (of the 3G market), in the sense that if you want to make (microchip) sets that work with the 3G standard, you have to use technology which is subject to intellectual-property rights belonging to Qualcomm," the EC spokesman said.

    Commission officials stressed that the EC has no problem with companies which hold a dominant market position, and that the current investigation, which could take up to two years, is rather concerned with finding out whether Qualcomm might have abused its position.

    "The opening of an investigation does not prejudice its result," the EC's spokesman pointed out.

    The announcement comes only a fortnight after the EC won a sweeping court victory over software titan Microsoft, in a case which also partly hinged on the issue of whether a dominant company had allowed its rivals access to crucial technology at a fair price.

    That verdict was hailed in some quarters as proof that the EU is now the worldwide standard-setter in cases of this kind.

    While the EC spokesman pointed out that the decision to launch the investigation into Qualcomm was taken well before the Microsoft verdict was known, and was in no way linked to it, this case could well be seen as continuing that trend. dpa bn pb

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Thailand
    Posts
    24
    Device(s)
    iPhone6 Plus
    Carrier(s)
    Bangkok Beach Telecom
    Feedback Score
    0
    I guess I'm sort of missing the point here. Can someone help me understand?

    Qualcomm invented much of the intellectual property upon which CDMA technology rests. So now that it is a relatively popular technology the EC are contemplating denying Qualcomm the right to profit from their efforts? Won't that happen anyway when Qualcomm's patents expire?

    Isn't this situation analogous to the Motorola iden networks? Wasn't every handset ever made for NexTel licensed by Motorola? Is the EC about to go after Motorola? Surely there are other examples.

    So why Qualcomm? Could it have anything to do with the way they messed Ericsson around in court, and that they've given Nokia plenty of stick for the same reasons? Ericsson and Nokia. They're both European companies, aren't they? Hmmm, I wonder.

    In modern democracies what is the purpose of a patent regime? Isn't it to encourage investment and innovation? Didn't Qualcomm invent an almost entirely new cellular multiple access air interface?

    So can anyone say why the EC is after Qualcomm? It's hard to understand what Qualcomm have done wrong. Thanks
    Bangkok Beach Telecom Build Your Telecoms Presence

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Athens, Greece
    Posts
    365
    Device(s)
    Nokia N82
    Carrier(s)
    WIND GR
    Feedback Score
    0
    Under the European Union competition regime, a company with significant power in the market (which Qualcomm is, in the CDMA patents market) is not allowed to abuse its dominant position by charging some more money than it does with others or by charging excesive fees for its patents and thus promoting unfair competition.

    That's what the Commission of the European Union is investigating now after complaints by major european manufacturers and it shall come back with a report. If this investigation proves that Qualcomm is suspected to have breached EU regulations, then the Commission will take them to the Court of the European Communities...

    That's how it works in Europe. The system is a bit different than the US, but the idea behind patents is to promote investment, not unfair competition...
    In varietate concordia

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Stockholm
    Posts
    1,516
    Device(s)
    Nokia 6680
    Carrier(s)
    Telia
    Feedback Score
    0
    I'm surprised it has taken this long, given the rather blatant nature of Qualcomm's abuse of its patents, but it's clear that EC has become more experienced and more confident after going head-to-head with the best legal team that Microsoft could come up with and having their decisions upheld by the courts.

    Now if they would just do something about Apple.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Berlin, Germany
    Posts
    560
    Device(s)
    HP Pre 3
    Carrier(s)
    O2 Deutschland
    Feedback Score
    0
    Oh please, what should the EC do about Apple?
    Apple does not abuse any patent, nor does it have any kind of monopoly.
    If people are stupid enough to go Apple, then it's their problem and the EC cannot do anything about that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    5,323
    Device(s)
    Samsung A540
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by polonius
    I'm surprised it has taken this long, given the rather blatant nature of Qualcomm's abuse of its patents, but it's clear that EC has become more experienced and more confident after going head-to-head with the best legal team that Microsoft could come up with and having their decisions upheld by the courts.

    Now if they would just do something about Apple.
    I disagree with the European approach from a legal standpoint which said that essential patent holders shouldn't hold "extra power" if their patents are incorporated into standards.

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2190771,00.asp

    It gets weird when combined with the European view that much of the patents granted by the US government are kind of frivolous. If Europe thinks that Qualcomm's CDMA patents are really that "essential" to the standard, then shouldn't Europe view all the other CDMA patents (i.e. from Nokia or Ericsson or Siemens) kind of useless --- and thus Qualcomm should really get a king's ransom for those patent licensing fees.

    This is not like Rambus where they put in submarine patents into some international standards on RAM and then tried to squeeze everybody else. The whole world acknowledged Qualcomm has all the essential patents when they were drafting the WCDMA standard.

    Europe could have put OFDM as the standard for 3G when they were drafting it. OFDM has been around since the 1960's.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Stockholm
    Posts
    1,516
    Device(s)
    Nokia 6680
    Carrier(s)
    Telia
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by lewton
    Oh please, what should the EC do about Apple?
    Apple does not abuse any patent, nor does it have any kind of monopoly.
    If people are stupid enough to go Apple, then it's their problem and the EC cannot do anything about that.
    Obviously, you haven't been following the news. Consumer ombudsmen in Norway, Sweden, Finland, France and perhaps some other jurisdictions have already taken on Apple over their tying of the iPod to the iTunes store. France passed special legislation to deal with the problem. In addition, Apple had a user agreement that required users throughout Europe to agree to the UK as a venue for resolving any disputes, meaning than a customer could not sue Apple in their home country. On top of this, there are ongoing problems with Apple's approach to DRM. So far, corrective action has taken place only on the country level, but I expect the EC to get involved at some stage. Apple's business practices are blatantly anti-competitive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    5,323
    Device(s)
    Samsung A540
    Feedback Score
    0
    The problem for European governments acting against itunes in Europe is that 3 out of the 4 major music studios are owned by Europeans.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_music_market

    I do not see the French government acting against Vivendi for it. This is why the French law was water-downed last year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Athens, Greece
    Posts
    365
    Device(s)
    Nokia N82
    Carrier(s)
    WIND GR
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by polonius
    ... Apple had a user agreement that required users throughout Europe to agree to the UK as a venue for resolving any disputes, meaning than a customer could not sue Apple in their home country...
    Let me comment just on that.
    It doesn't matter if the UK is agreed as the place for resolving disputes. This is included in almost all service agreement.

    The thing is that under the EU law, EU is a common market and a consumer receiving a service anywhere in the EU has the right to get to court about it in the EU country where they reside or receive the service. That's why this clause is almost insignificant under the EU reality...

    If consumers decide to sue Apple, they can do so anywhere inside the common market (which includes the EU and some other countries).
    But it's the Commission of the European Union (for our american friends the EC is something like an EU government-wannabe) that has actually taken action against Apple on the European level...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Berlin, Germany
    Posts
    560
    Device(s)
    HP Pre 3
    Carrier(s)
    O2 Deutschland
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by samab
    The problem for European governments acting against itunes in Europe is that 3 out of the 4 major music studios are owned by Europeans.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_music_market

    I do not see the French government acting against Vivendi for it. This is why the French law was water-downed last year.
    Does Vivendi sell any mp3 device that is locked to its own music service?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    5,323
    Device(s)
    Samsung A540
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by lewton
    Does Vivendi sell any mp3 device that is locked to its own music service?
    No, but the French law is watered-down so that as long as the content owners okey'ed DRM then Apple is in the clear in France (and Vivendi is one of the 4 major music studios in the world).

    http://www.news.com/France-rolls-ove...3-6087321.html

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Thailand
    Posts
    24
    Device(s)
    iPhone6 Plus
    Carrier(s)
    Bangkok Beach Telecom
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by polonius
    I'm surprised it has taken this long, given the rather blatant nature of Qualcomm's abuse of its patents, but it's clear that EC has become more experienced and more confident after going head-to-head with the best legal team that Microsoft could come up with and having their decisions upheld by the courts.
    So far there seems only allegations from vested interests, although credulity is not much stretched by the idea that Qualcomm might abuse it's patents. Actual evidence of abuse or allegations from an outside party with no direct commercial interest would be much preferable to the thought that the EC could be swayed by the interest of a handful of companies that happen to be local favorites.

    An un-level playing field hurts everyone except the ones for whom the field is tilted.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    321
    Feedback Score
    0

    German court dismisses Nokia case against Qualcomm

    I'm not sure if this is the same case as their are several,


    A German regional court on Tuesday dismissed a case on procedural grounds in which Nokia filed a complaint against U.S chipmaker Qualcomm patents in Germany.

    Nokia, the world's top cell phone maker, and Qualcomm have been engaged in numerous legal disputes after a key cross-licensing agreement over technology patents expired in April 2007, worrying investors on both side of Atlantic.

    The court in Mannheim said Nokia could appeal the decision and Nokia spokeswoman said the Finnish firm would consider this.

    "Nokia is confident that its substantive claim is well-founded and is considering if it will appeal the court's decision," said Anne Eckert.

    Nokia wanted the German court to rule that Qualcomm's patents are exhausted and that it should not be able to charge twice for its patents, billing first chipset suppliers and then also handset makers.

    Qualcomm technology ends up in Nokia phones through chips from TI, which pays for the use of Qualcomm patents.

    Qualcomm was not immediately available for comment.

    Nokia has filed a similar complainta similar complaint in The Hague District Court in the Netherlands, where the decision is expected next week. Nokia filed the suits to protest at Qualcomm's practice of charging first rival chipmakers who use its technology and then also their end clients like Nokia.

    Analysts estimate Nokia had been paying Qualcomm about $500 million per year before the patent expired and wanted to reduce this cost. Nokia says its patent portfolio is much stronger now than 15 years ago, when the original licensing deal was signed.

    Earlier on Tuesday Nokia said it will continue negotiating with Qualcommand played down a U.S. judge's recommendation to drop an investigation into the chipmaker.

    "We continue to negotiate," Chief Technology Officer Tero Ojanpera, who is in charge of IPR issues at Nokia, told a technology event in northern Finland.

    On Friday last week Qualcomm said it won a round in its legal battles with Nokia following a string of legal disappointments for the company this summer.

    A judge recommended ending a U.S. International Trade Commission investigation of a complaint Nokia had brought against Qualcomm as the firms are already in arbitration proceedings related to their 2001 technology license agreement.

    "I think Friday's ruling was more like a procedural one and not based on merits of the patents," Ojanpera said.

    In yet another case, the ITC banned the U.S. import of some phones with Qualcomm chips that were found to infringe on a patent owned by Broadcom. The ban has been partially stayed while Qualcomm appeals the case.

Bookmarks